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Category Archives: Loyalty

A Lifetime of Faithfulness

I bumped into a Friend in the post office last week. He’s a retired pastor in his late 80’s.  He just sold his home and he and his wife are entering an assisted living facility in a neighboring town. He retired from the ministry a short time ago. Spent his whole life ministering in a small country church. A whole lifetime of faithfulness. I have a lot of respect for guys like that.

It made me think; I doubt he ever made much more money than to barely get by. Not rare to have to find some kind of supplemental income. Probably never got asked to speak at a big conference anywhere. Never gonna have his picture or an article in Charisma magazine. Not even gonna name a street after him in his little town. He’s not one to complain about that kinda stuff. It obviously wasn’t what was important to him. But, he kept on being faithful anyhow.

I bet he knew three or four generations of people there where he ministered all those years. Went through all the ups and downs with ’em. Everything from burying their grandpa to seeing a new baby boy welcomed into the world and entire families devastated by some of the tragedies life brings. Held their hands when they didn’t have any hope for what they were facing. Always clinging to, and pointing them to God. And, in a little church like that in a tiny community, the Pastor has to do everything. Preach every Sunday for decade upon decade. Marry ’em, bury ’em, and everything in between. All the while getting the usual criticism that goes along with the job. Think about how much wisdom he gained in a generation or more. Think about how much he would have to offer…….anyone.

In my conversation with my Friend, he lost his train of thought a time or two and apologized for it. He even said, “Well, that’s the problem I have now.”. I ‘felt’ his pain at that very moment and it grieved me. Even makes me tear up while I’m writing.

It’s been a whole lifetime of faithfulness, to the Lord and to the people He entrusted him with. It makes me wonder if anyone really noticed; if anyone did much more than say, “Thank ‘ya”. But, I have an opinion about men like my Friend. You don’t have to agree with me but I bet ‘ya when we get up ‘there’, you know, in Heaven that guys like my Friend are gonna be getting some heavy duty hardware when they start passin’ out the rewards. I think we might be surprised at how honored ‘then’ they might be as compared to those who won world acclaim here on earth. We should honor them now, ….but we probably won’t….

Some people just don’t appreciate a lifetime of faithfulness like that.

But I do!

….and I think the Father does too!

Well done!

 

 

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“I Don’t Know How We’re Gonna Win….I Just Know We’re Going To!”

That’s the words that Dabo Swinney told his Clemson players at halftime of the NCAA Football National Championship in Tampa Monday night. Alabama, on a 27-0 run over the last couple of years, was the favorite pick by the oddsmakers. There were a lot of people who were pulling for Clemson but I don’t think many were willing to bet much on the game. The Crimson Tide has just been too tough. They’re athletic, big, strong, fast, intimidating and very well coached. Nobody has given them much of a scare for a couple of years. The closest anyone has come to beating Alabama came exactly a year ago also in the NCAA Championship by…..none other than the Clemson Tigers.

But the underdog Clemson Tigers believed! That’s what happens when  a coach,….and I’m sure an entire coaching staff, fosters confidence and a winning attitude. People want to follow a leader who thinks he’s going to win! They’ll follow someone who’s not afraid or intimidated by the conditions at hand; Someone who doesn’t cut and run when chips are down….or when the tide (no pun intended) is against them.

There’s a need for great leaders in the body of Christ now more than at any other time in history of the world. But it almost seems like there’s a vacuum; a fear or timidity to ‘stand up’ and really lead. The world is longing for those who’ll defy the odds, go against the traditional religious grain, ….if they must….and empower the multitudes to take their place in the greatest move of God the planet might ever see!

Somebody needs to stand up in the midst of the adverse conditions we’re faced with today and declare, “We’re gonna win…..I don’t know how we’re gonna do it….but I just know we’re going to!”

Oh, and Dabo’s Clemson Tigers…..they did what he said they would…in a dramatic 35-31 comeback victory….scoring the winning touchdown with 1 second left on the clock!

Some more football blogs:

All-Time Favorite Sports Franchise – Canadian, Texas Wildcats

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

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

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People Just Love to Talk

I was listening to a Delbert McClinton song the other day titled,  People Just Love to Talk. (click on highlighted links to watch/read) Anybody that knows me well, knows that I really like Delbert McClinton. He’s a Ft. Worth guy whose music doesn’t really fit perfectly with any genre. It’s not country, although it does kinda have a certain country flair. It’s not rock, but again, there’s some similarity. But most of his songs have a nice bluesy edge to them. You oughta check him out. You might find you really like him.

But the song got me to thinkin’; It’s really true you know, people do just love to talk. And a lot of the time that talk is not very wholesome or edifying. I gotta say right here that I’ve been guilty of it myself on numerous occasions….and I’m trying to do better. Gossip…., or talebearing as the Bible calls it, is so easy to get dragged into. I mean, you don’t even have to try and before you know it you find yourself ‘piling on’ (with your words) someone that definitely doesn’t need it.

The Lord gave me what I’d call a pretty profound revelation some years back. There’s a powerful Biblical principle that says, “If two of you agree on anything and ask it in My (Jesus talking) Name, I’ll do it”. Another one, “If one can put a thousand to flight, two can put ten thousand to flight”. Now, that’s pretty amazing math if you stop and think about it! There’s more…but you get the idea. Well, what the Lord showed me was that we are doing the exact same thing….but in a negative way when we agree with someone’s railing on another person, or when we add our own words to the criticism thrown out there! That’s pretty serious, I think! And, it’s just more evidence of how important our words really are.

The Bible talks about how powerful our words are….in a negative sense, “see how great a forest a little fire kindles”. It’s true….people just love to talk……but you and I don’t have to throw fuel on the fire!

…might want to check these out, too!

Don’t Tie the Ends Up!

You Got to Me Too Late!

Talk About a ‘Fixer-Upper’!2016WordpressSignatureSM

 

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Did NOT See That Coming!

Woke up yesterday, 4th of July, anticipating the announcement from Kevin Durant that he was staying with the Thunder. He became a free-agent just a few days ago and there was at least a half dozen NBA teams that he visited prior to the 4th.

We’ve been Thunder season ticket holders since we first had the chance six or seven years ago. I quit watching the NBA 15 years ago. It got boring for me to see both teams fiddle around for three quarters, play absolutely no defense, then try to win in the fourth quarter. The Thunder were just a so-so team for a year or two but began to make their way into the upper echelon in the NBA West. KD, was the marquis player for the Thunder earning all kinds of league accolades including the prestigious MVP of the NBA. He’s been a great asset to Oklahoma…and not just the OKC Thunder. He displayed  a level of character that is not often seen with multi-million dollar sports celebrities these days. He came from very humble beginnings and I believe he is a genuinely good kid.

I really wasn’t worried that he wouldn’t re-sign with the Thunder. I was a little nervous when ESPN reported that he was ‘blown away’ by the presentation by the LA Clippers. But, still I figured he’d stay in OKC considering that we were just one game away from making the NBA Finals. All it’d take is the right trade for the right guy and we’re right back in the same spot next season. It seemed that everything was shaping up for a great run next year.

But mid morning on the 4th of July the announcement was made that he would sign with the Golden State Warriors. I was stunned! Anyplace but Golden State! I cycled through several emotions throughout the day; total shock at first, then sadness….then about half mad, but then just kinda settled in to, “Well it is, what it is.”.

We, here in Oklahoma, have never had a sports figure that received the national attention as KD did, at least not in the modern era. Heck, it’s our only Pro Sports team. KD and the Thunder brought OU and OSU fans together under one roof. It brought Oklahoma City national sports recognition and had an uncanny way of unifying a whole state, something that maybe no other sports franchise has ever done. 

All in all I’d have to say that Kevin Durant has been good for Oklahoma…but no more good than Oklahoma has been for him. He’s been supported, defended and loved by just about everyone in the whole state. But it is, what it is! I wish him the best. I hope this move turns out for him what he’s wishing for. And for us diehard Thunder fans, I guess we’re getting to experience what every other fan of every other professional sports franchise has already experienced before. 

But, I ain’t gonna lie…..I hope we kick the _ _ _ _ (you fill in the blank!) out of Golden State!

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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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The Bible Does Not Have All Your Answers!

I bet that got your attention! I know it got the attention of the ones I call the ‘over-religious, self-righteous doctrinal police’. You know, the ones that just can’t resist the opportunity to set you straight about your errors in not seeing every single Biblical truth just exactly like they do. Yeah….those guys! They’d never agree with the blog title….to them it’s blatant blasphemy!

But it’s the truth whether you want to admit it or not. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Bible does have a lot of our answers. And don’t you dare get the idea that I don’t believe the Bible. I do believe it!! Every word of it! I love the Bible more today than at any other time in my life. I love reading it,…I love studying it, I love teaching it, I love listening to great teachers teach it. There’s nothing I don’t love about the Bible. But the Bible was never meant to be a substitute for our ‘relationship’ with the Father! …..and it has become that to countless thousands!

I talk a lot about that relationship and because of it there are those love to criticize saying that I don’t give the Bible the respect that it deserves. I don’t get that! In fact I believe I’m giving it much more respect than they are. In their mind they think they’re defending the integrity of the Scriptures….but in all reality they’re actually fighting against what the Bible is all about to begin with! We live in a ‘religious’ culture that values knowledge over connecting relationally with God. This desperately needs to change! From the Father’s perspective….it has always been about the encounter…..and the ensuing relationship that will naturally follow! In its essence the Bible is written to enhance our relationship with the Father…..not to limit it. It is written with the divine intent of drawing us into relationship with Him! 

And all those answers about our lives that we need to know along the road of life….some of those you will find in the Bible….but not all of them! God has sealed up the details of our lives up in His heart….(and you’re going to love Him for this!), and the only way you can get those details is to go to Him! He’s designed it that way! ….so He can reveal Himself to you in a personal way….and show you how much He loves you!

“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”.  Jn 5:39

It’s exactly what Jesus was talking about a couple thousand years ago.

It has always been about the encounter!

I bet you’ll like this one too:

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

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You’re Better at Hearing the Lord Than You Think!

Well, it’ll take some commitment on your part but I totally believe that it’s true. I certainly don’t consider myself an expert on hearing God but I’ve heard Him lots of times (missed him plenty of times as well)….and I’ll bet you have too.

When I started going out speaking at churches in the mid 80’s I didn’t know much (still don’t know much….but you should’ve been around in those days! lol), but I did understand that the Lord speaks and when I’d say something to that effect in a church I noticed that some people (even pastors) often had a funny look on their faces. You know, I didn’t grow up going to church and when I came to the Lord it was for real and I thought it was a ‘given’, that spiritual people heard from the Lord! I actually believed everybody ‘thought’ that way! Turns out it wasn’t as true as I thought it was.

Now, I’ve never heard the audible voice of the Lord but I know plenty of people who say they have and I have absolutely no reason, whatsoever, to disbelieve them. But God is not limited to speaking with an audible voice. He speaks in lots of ways including, ….but not limited to: through the Bible, through our circumstances, through dreams and visions, through prophetic words, through other people, through our kids, through signs and wonders…..and by, what the Bible calls, the ‘still small voice’.

Jesus said, “My sheep know Me….and they hear My voice”. So, if you’re not ‘hearing’ the Lord….chances are the problem is not on His end! I firmly believe we should change our thinking based on the reality that God, the Father, has chosen us to be His own children. Fathers, and He’s the perfect One, always want to communicate with their kids. So, you gotta know that God wants to speak to you! 

Get your antenna up! You’re better at this than you think you are!

You should like these, too:*Click on highlighted link:”     

What’s the  Lord Saying to You? Pt 1

What’s the Lord Saying to You? Pt 2

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Just Say, “Yes”!

I know…..that’s not how you first heard it. “Just Say No”, (click highlighted link) was the slogan for the anti-drug campaign initiated in the ’80’s and ’90’s. The whole idea was created and championed by none other than, Nancy Reagan. “Just Say No” is great advice when it comes to drugs. Hopefully hundreds of thousands of both young and old have heeded that advice…and will continue to do so.

I’m suggesting we start another campaign kinda of like the one Nancy started but with the slogan, “Just Say Yes”!! Well, obviously, you can’t say yes to just anything. That would be dumb. I’m saying we, “Just Say Yes”, to the plans of the Father for our lives. I don’t know many people who would reject that line of thinking….but in practice I’m afraid we might be suffering a little! God has an incredible, intricate and very personal plan for our lives. We can only ‘lay hold’ of that plan, and the details of it, by faith. But the good news is that you have adequate faith, and more than enough of it, to get that done!

If you’ve been really sincere and serious about your walk with the Lord you’ve surely inquired of Him about His plan for your life. If not….you could, and should, start now. Nothing difficult about it. In fact it’s so simple that anyone (even a caveman! lol) can do it. If you’ve heard some things from the Lord and said “yes” to them…I’m convinced that you’re already experiencing the blessings that accompany that kind of response. But what about the things that we don’t even know about yet? Well, that’s where this “Just Say Yes” mindset really begins to be beneficial for us. We should “Just Say Yes” to the things we’re aware of….but go into the next realm where we say “Yes” to the things we don’t even know about yet!

I agree, that’s a radical step of faith…but it’s what we’re created for! So, the next time that something comes up in your spirit that you think might be the Lord…..Just Say Yes!! You can’t go wrong!

You should like this one too:

What If I’d Said, No?WordpressSignature2015b

 

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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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“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 1

I put the title in quotation marks for a reason. And the reason is, is that particular quote is one I’ve used at least a hundred times. And if the truth were to be known….actually hundreds of times!

In a Wednesday morning prayer time about 10 years ago I felt I heard the Lord saying to me, “Andy, there’s a shift in how this works; normally people move to an area because of a job and then they find a church….but I’m changing that for ‘here’! I’m going to bring people in here from all over…and I’m going to give them a job; some will come and stay, some will come and go back where they came from, and some will go to other places and start fires!”

*My understanding of that is that they’d start fires like the one He started here; ‘kingdom fires’, fires of something simple yet profound, fires of something real and authentic that would appeal to people of all kinds….especially to those that the ‘religious’ church might have scorned and rejected…and the people that nobody else wants; fires built around relationship with the Father; and eternal fires that are sustained, and kept burning by loving others unconditionally!

When I heard that from the Lord I did what I encourage others to do when they ‘think’ they might have heard Him. “Say it….and pray it!” So, we said it and prayed it and it started to happen. People began moving in here from all over; Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mexico, Columbia, Canada…. to name a few. And, true to His word (as He always is!), some came and stayed and some came and went….and the fires are glowing in places all over, now!

Oh, and by the way….those people that the Lord said would come……they’re still coming! 

Part 2 – “What’s The Lord Telling You?”Coming in a day or two

*Don’t forget the “Reflect & Refocus” Series from a year ago!

Here’s one; (click on highlighted link) Find the others in “Archives”:

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