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Category Archives: Job

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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$$$ – Being a “Thousandaire” Might Just Be Better Than Being a “Millionaire”!

It goes against logic, I know. But after 60 + years of observation….I think it’s true. Now, for starters, I haven’t yet had the experience of being a millionaire….but I’ve been a ‘thousandaire’ for years. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve dropped below the qualification limit a few times down through the years…..especially during my illustrious rodeo career. But for the most part I’ve be a steady thousandaire.

I’ve noticed the last few years as I’ve gotten older that I don’t need as much ‘stuff’ as I use to think I needed. All those things that we ‘needed’ and thought would make us happier……didn’t! I think it’s part of actually growing up and maturing and learning in part, what’s really important in life.

I’ve observed throughout my lifetime those who had lots of money. Even had friends growing up whose parents were very well off. There’s nothing at all wrong with that. In fact it’s to be commended in most cases. It’s America; we can do just about whatever we want to do. And for those who really find their niche and do well financially, it’s a very good thing. I did notice that some of the rich kids didn’t try near as hard at sports than some of the less fortunate.They had enough athletic ability, alright,…..but the ‘try factor’ was lacking. It really showed up during my rodeo career. It’s a broad statement,….and not always true, but the rich kids weren’t nearly as gritty as those who had nothing to fall back on. 

The human spirit is an amazing thing. We’re created to conquer and to succeed. Everybody loves the story of those who overcame extreme odds to succeed in life. It’s a very good thing to ‘have’ to get up and go to work and put in a good day…every day. It’s good to learn to manage our finances and resources and to live within our means. We can do a lot more than we think we can….but if it’s always been done for us….we’ll never know.If we never have to really ‘try’, we might just not ever do it.

I recently told a friend that, “This time next year I’ll have 9 grandkids”. He jokingly said, “You’ll never be able to afford Christmas”...to which I replied, “I’ve never been able to afford Christmas yet!”(We raised 5 of our own!) But, you know what?? We’ve had great Christmases for, going on now, 39 years! We have somehow survived….just being ‘thousandaires’!

Paul said it in the Bible. “I’ve been hungry and I’ve been full; I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. I’ve learned to be content in whatever state I’m in”. He’d found the ‘secret’ to true happiness and contentment. His ‘joy’ was in the Lord!

I’m only a thousandaire but if family and friends and relationship with the Father were measured in money……I’d be millionaire many times over!! I’m really, really rich in the things that matter most to me!

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By The Numbers

I was thinking a few days ago about what I do and just wondered how many times I’ve preached a message, how many funerals I’ve presided over, how many ‘corporate’ prayer meetings I’ve led, how many ‘ministry’ school sessions I’ve taught in, how many conferences I’ve spoken at, how many civic events I’ve been asked to speak at, how many marriages I’ve performed, how many different churches I’ve spoken at, how many ‘small group’ meetings I’ve led, how many youth camp services I’ve led, how many graduations I’ve spoken at, ordination services I’ve been a part of, etc. So, I thought I’d try to count it up. It’s a ‘ballpark’ guess at best and I’m trying to be conservative.

Sunday/Wednesday Messages:  2125  

Funerals:  350

Prayer Meetings Led:  1144

Ministry School Sessions:  60

Conference Messages:  60

Civic Events:  35

Marriages:  100

Different Churches:  60

Led Small Groups: 100

Youth Camp Messages: 100

Graduations:  20

Ordination Services:  40

Misc.:  25

Grand Total:  4319  

……in addition to that…..

Newspaper Articles: 550

Blogs: 125

Small Group Lessons: 100

Radio Shows:  85

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Quit Telling Me What The Problem Is!!

It was a bit of a rude awakening when we were informed that the ranch we had leased, lived on for nearly 25 years, made our homes, and were assured we’d be there forever, was going to be sold. I’ll never forget that day! Interestingly enough, the day before, I had written inside the cover of my Bible: “God, I want everything You have for me, no matter what it costs me.” I had no idea that the very next day He would begin to shift things in such a way that I could clearly see, at least a little of, what the ‘costs’ might be! It was even more the challenge because Julie and I had absolutely no back-up plan. As far as we were concerned we were going to raise our kids…..and grow old there. So everything was somewhat in chaos and we had no choice but to put our trust in the Lord.

That was in 1988, and we moved only 30 miles away south of Cheyenne, Oklahoma. I worked several odd jobs for a few months, everything from helping take care of cattle (which I was way familiar with), to some oilfield day work but nothing extremely stable or permanent. I saw an ad in the local paper and went for an interview, took an aptitude test….and was hired on the spot by Edgar Sellers (before he even looked at how I’d done on the test), a great guy who’d be my boss for the next seven years. I started with Western Merchandisers the next week!

The president of the company was John Marmaduke whose dad, Sam, had started the company on a shoestring a generation before. John was a brilliant businessman, in my opinion. He took a fairly small company and procured a contract with Wal-Mart that eventually enabled Western Merchandisers to supply all the music (Vinyl LP’s, 8-Tracks, Cassettes, CDs), all the books, all the computer software and most of the movies for the entire Wal-Mart chain, nationwide. After a few years Wal-Mart purchased Western Merchandisers for millions.

John was an aggressive guy in our regional meetings. He knew the business and didn’t tolerate amateurism to any degree. Let’s just say he ‘ran a tight ship’! I remember several meetings with sales reps, district managers and upper level management when people would start to talk of all the problems out in the field. John would rip into them….no matter what level they were in..…and I can remember him saying more than a few times, “I’m tired of hearing about the problems; Anybody can tell you what the problems are!’, “I want to hear from somebody who has a solution!”

I’ve never forgotten those meetings and what I learned from John. And, it’s true; whether we’re talking about the Federal Government, the Little League Baseball Team, the Chamber for Commerce, your marriage or the Church; just about anybody can tell you what the problem is….you don’t have to be genius to figure that out! There’s just not many out there who are solution minded.

So, quit telling me what the problem is…….I want to hear from somebody who has a solution!

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There’s Something To Be Said For Not Knowing Anything!

I know, when you first read that, it just doesn’t make sense. But I’m looking at it from a somewhat different perspective. We’re living in the ‘Information Age’ now, here in the 21st century. I kinda like the fact that I can go to Google, ask any question, and get a few hundred thousand options for my answer in a matter of seconds. You can find a video showing you how to do about anything you could possibly imagine. I mean, everything’s available from how to fix your refrigerator to building an ultra-light airplane that actually flies. My point is that knowledge is easy to access these days.

I remember well growing up and living on the ranch out in the Texas Panhandle. We nearly always had a hired-hand. We had a few good ones and there were a few who weren’t so good. The ones who knew pretty much everything, turned out to be the very worst ones we had. And some of those who actually admitted they didn’t know much turned out to be some of the best. I see that pretty often these days. Someone who doesn’t know much about a particular job or vocation, and is willing to admit that he doesn’t know, is actually in a pretty good spot. And from an employer’s perspective…..maybe a really good spot. Nearly all employers like things done ‘their way’! So you can take one of these guys who’ll admit he doesn’t know much and, if he’s willing, teach him how to do it your way. Some would say that it’s the best case scenario.

I think the Father works like that too. Some of these folks that ‘just know everything’ don’t seem to get much done for the Lord in the long haul. God’s not really looking for people who know everything….He actually never has! I’m pretty sure that’s why He picked Himself some fishermen and tax collectors to be His closest confidants. The religious people just knew way too much!

I was a cowboy; grew up on a ranch, and was a rodeo cowboy too. I still know quite a bit of stuff about ranching and rodeo, horses and cattle. I don’t use much of that info these days….but I could if I needed to. When the Lord picked me to do what I’m doing….I knew absolutely nothing about what to do, or how to do it. I’ve learned a few things in 30+ years, and still learning. But I’m positive, at the beginning, He wanted somebody who didn’t know anything…so He could teach him how to do it His way. So I think….from God’s perspective, ‘there’s something to be said for not knowing anything’!

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Posted by on July 2, 2015 in Job, Knowledge, Wisdom, Wisdom of God

 

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