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Category Archives: Redemption

When Love Comes to Town

The band U2 was formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1976. Since that time they’ve released 13 studio albums and are now one of the best selling music artist of all time, having sold more than 170 million records worldwide. In addition they have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band in history and in 2005 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Several of U2’s songs have some strong spiritual undertones. Several have an overtly spiritual message leading me to think that they have a relationship with Jesus. On their 1998 album Rattle and Hum they collaborated with the great B.B. King on a song called, “When Love Comes to Town”. It’s a great song accented with B.B. King’s amazing guitar licks.

The song lends to the idea that when we’re presented with love, true love, everything changes. Love is an amazing thing and it really does change everything for us. Whether it’s the love of a family member, a mate to share life with or just someone who is free with what they’ve been freely given…..when love is given and received it does something profound in the human heart that longs for such things. *Incidentally, it does as much in the heart of the giver as it does the receiver! It’s the classic win-win situation!

We’re created by God to be lovers; We have in inherent need both to give it and to receive it. When that’s not happening we’re left to experience much, much less than this life has to offer. It doesn’t have to be.

The Father has made sure that we would never have to go a second in this life (or the next for that matter!) and not know His love. It’s unconditional (big word there!); it’s not phased in the least by our stubbornness; it doesn’t diminish even if we were dumb enough to choose not to receive it. There’s nothing like it….and nothing can take its place. …..and you won’t be who you were created to be until you get in its way!

So, take B.B. King’s advice, “When love comes to town, jump that train; When love comes to town, catch that flame”!

You’ll never be the same when love comes to town!

If you like ’em….”Share” ’em!

You Got to Me Too Late!

That Crazy Little Thing Called Love

How Are We Doing in ‘The Thing’ That Matters Most?

 

 

 

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A Mother’s Advice

Have you ever thought about the value of a mother’s advice? Speaking from my own experience I don’t think I’ve ever had any bad advice from my Mom. She’s wise, prudent and her advice always comes from a place of unconditional love. It’s never pushy or manipulated…..and it’s nearly always unbelievably timely. The world’s not overloaded with that kind of advice but moms seem to have an endless supply of it. I’m grateful to still have my Mom and I still treasure her advice when I need it.

When I think about a mother’s advice I can’t help but think of Mary, Jesus’ Mom. It’s quite a miraculous story about how the little girl had that amazing encounter with the Angel. I’ve thought many times about how incredible the Angel’s words and instructions were to Mary. I’ve thought about how hard it would be to try to make any sense at all of what he told her. I seriously doubt she understood at all…..but she did it anyway. And, all of humanity has been immeasurably blessed since then.

Jesus’ birth was without a doubt one of the most important happenings ever to take place on the earth. He grew and began to fulfill the perfect plan of the Father. It was a plan that would give redemption to the entirety of mankind….if they’d only accept it. Mind boggling scenario, to say the least.

There was a wedding. Mary was there. Must’ve been more people there than expected because they were about to run out of wine. Either that or the people attending the wedding were having an extra large time! lol Mary summoned Jesus and told Him the problem. And, you know the rest of the story; Jesus turned the water into wine…and good wine, at that! But, do you remember the advice that Mary gave to the servants? She told them, about Jesus, “Whatever He says, do it”!

That little piece of a mother’s advice is as true today as it was when Mary said it. We should be wise and take her word for it. Because it still works for any situation at any point in time. So, on this Mother’s Day, take the advice of Jesus’ Mom…..

“Whatever He says, do it!”

You’ll be surprised at how good your life will go!

 

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The Bible Belt – “The Land of Never Enough”

After 30 years or so in the ministry there are things you start to notice, things that stand out. There are patterns of thought and behavior that seem to be deeply woven into the fabric of Bible Belt mentality. One such pattern that runs very deep among born again believers is that one can never do enough to get,….or stay, in good standing with God. If you wonder why I say that, here’s why; I hear it all the time; “I don’t go to church enough”, “I don’t pray enough”, “I don’t read the Bible enough”, “I don’t have enough faith”, “I’m not a very good Christian”, I hope I”m going to heaven”. I just heard this from a man yesterday, “I think God has given up on me”. I refuted that lie as quick as I could!

It’s a prevalent attitude with many people always thinking they can never do enough, or be good enough to satisfy the Lord. It gives the feeling they’re trying to serve a God that’s unreasonably demanding and impossible to please. It’s like being on a treadmill of performance in an effort to earn their righteousness; A state, in fact, that many never seem to arrive at. This is a problem of the highest order, in my opinion, because it gives an incorrect image of ‘Who’ God actually is. It’s one of the greatest misportrayals the world has ever seen. There are many out there who’ll live their entire lives believing they were never quite acceptable or good enough to please God. And, what’s worse is that it leads one to believe that the Father’s love based entirely on our behavior.

Sad,…. Sad,…. Sad!

The danger of ‘never enough’ exists anytime a mixture of law and grace are preached. And, sadly enough…..that’s what happens most of the time in the Bible Belt. Paul spent the last half of his life contrasting law and grace. He knew them both well….in fact better than anyone on the planet in his generation. He was a staunch defender of grace even after it caused him to be beaten more than once and left for dead. It was controversial then….it’s controversial now…..but only to those who believe their behavior is what makes them righteous.

So, tell me, what’s on your list of things to do that make you righteous? And, while you’re at it explain to me where the line is of, enough….or not enough. Truth is, if you never read your Bible, if you never went to church your righteousness isn’t diminished one bit. I’m not advocating that….just pointing it out! You’re not righteous because of what you do…..you’re righteous because of what He did! The Father doesn’t love you because you’re good…..He loves you because He’s good!

THAT, in itself, makes me want to do good!

Good fathers would never keep their children in limbo over such important things! So, pack your bags, enjoy your relationship with the Father….. and get out of the land of never enough!

Check out the Audio Version:

 

 

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A Heart of Gold

Do you know anyone that you would describe as having a ‘heart of gold’? You know, that person that possesses all the qualities you’d want to embrace yourself. I’d say a person with a heart of gold would be someone with integrity, someone who is always truthful, someone who is dependable, someone who is sincere, someone who cares, someone who has your back, someone who does the right thing, someone who is brave, someone who sees the best in everyone. Well, you could take that list a whole lot further if you wanted to…but you get the point.

I think we’re born with a pure and innocent demeanor but it doesn’t take long for the world and all it throws at us to begin to tarnish those traits. The world is mean, it’s indiscriminate, it does its best to run over us and when it does …..it just doesn’t care. These things take a toll on even the strongest personalities. And, ….they can cause that pure and innocent demeanor, or heart, to be tainted. You know what they say, “The struggle is real!”

But there’s good news; When we’re born again it’s “Job #1” for the Holy Spirit to ‘conform us into the image of Jesus’. Quite a task, if you think about it,…..even for Him. After years of learning to walk with the Lord I’m more like Him than I was. But, in reality, I’m still a long ways from being just like Him. The Father’s plan to conform us into the image of His Son has nothing whatsoever to do with our appearance as the bible verse might indicate. But it has everything to do with our heart being conformed to be like His!

Neil Young’s song, “Heart of Gold”, encourages the listener to “be a miner for a heart of gold”. That’s exactly what the Lord does when we come into relationship with Him. He ‘mines’ those valuable qualities and traits that lie deep within our soul and brings them to the surface. We are, after all, created in the image of God!

I’m thinkin’ we should do the same thing with the people we’re in relationship with…and the people we encounter. Maybe they’re arrogant, disrespectful and hard to deal with. What you see might not be ‘who’ they really are! Maybe they’re just the result of the meanness of the world. But what if, deep down, everyone out there really does have a heart of gold that just hasn’t yet been ‘mined’? 

Being that kind of miner starts with a determination to bring out the best in others….no matter what it takes.

Let’s you and me take the Father’s example……Let’s be ‘miners for a heart of gold’!!

*Audio Version:

I think you’ll like these, too:

Talk About a ‘Fixer Upper’!

Accepted or Valued? There’s a Vast Difference!

A Long Ways From the Lord

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A Prophetic Dream and A Defining Moment

God has a broad variety of ways that He can speak to us. I you think about it, and understand that He’s a Father, you’ll understand that He always wants to communicate with us. It really comes down to us tuning into His frequency, if you will, and receiving by faith what we hear. God is not limited to speaking to us in an audible voice. I know plenty of people who say they’ve heard Him that way, and I believe them.  But the Bible lists numerous other ways He speaks to us, and some of those include dreams and visions.

I can’t say I’ve had a lot of prophetic dreams; maybe a few dozen, in the 30+ years I’ve been learning to walk with the Lord. But the ones that I have had were very profound and life altering, to say the least. One such instance happened nearly 28 years ago. We had moved off the ranch in the Texas Panhandle and were just a month or two deep in starting the church. In the dream it was if I was in a classroom with about 15 people in it. They were all sitting in those desks like you used in high school. All of these people were reaching out for me and moaning and groaning in a very defeated and agonizing tone, as if to be crying out for help. On top of that they were all covered with some kind of bluish, green substance. One of the women toward the front of the classroom reached out for me but as she did her arm just broke off and crumbled like a piece of brittle pottery. Another man got up and started toward me but as he stood his leg broke like the woman’s arm and he fell to the floor. I walked up to another person, still in his chair, to pray for him and I put my hands on his head. When I did I noticed that the bluish green substance (the best description I can give is that this substance had the texture of that blue cue stick chalk used to play pool, but it was also damp) had a terrible smell to it. A smell so bad in fact that it was making me sick to my stomach. I should insert here that nothing makes me sick enough to throw up. Only done that a few times in my whole life. In fact, my family knows that if I start throwing up they better call the undertaker! lol In my dream the smell was making me sick enough to throw up. It was at this point that I woke up. I sat up in bed as quickly as I possibly could and actually gagged for about 30 seconds. I didn’t throw up but I came as close as you can without doing it. That was the end of the dream.

At that precise time I had no idea what the dream might mean but the next morning the Lord began to give me some specific insight into what it meant. He showed me that the brittleness of the people in the dream represented what dead religion does to a person. It makes us rigid and fragile. (as opposed to supple (teachable) and strong) The hopeless nature of the people in the dream was a result of what religion does to us, without the life giving component of relationship with the Father. The blue green substance was also the residue of religious mindsets that smother the life out of us. I believe that sickening smell that I experienced is exactly what the Lord experiences when we are bound up by lifeless religious thoughts and practices…..but have no relationship with Him!

The Lord spoke very clear to my spirit in His still, small voice; “Andy, My people are smothering and dying because of dead religion. I’m sending you to deliver my people from that bondage and to set them free.” 

That’s been 28 years ago but still very fresh in my mind. Looking back, it now seems crystal clear to me that it’s what my life is supposed to be about. That dream has served to form me and shape me into ‘who’ the Lord wants me to be, ……and ‘what’ He wants me to do. And, looking forward, I believe I can trust Him to continue to carry out that mission through me and the people He’s assembled here…..if we’ll simply keep on being obedient to Him. 

Try out the audio version:

A couple you might like:

Mexican Food and Prophecy! They Go Great Together!

A Place Where People Get Well

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Let’s Put it in Perspective

What is the meaning of life?

Why am I here?

Will my life and existence on the planet make any difference at all?

These are all good questions. I expect that if we’re being honest some form of these questions roll around in the minds of all of us from time to time. It’s probably a good thing. I think we should all give them a visit fairly often, actually. If your question is “Why”,…. well….for starters I’d just say that I’d hate for anyone to miss the real reason they’re on the planet. That seems pretty serious to me! I’m afraid a lot of people will…but I’ve been on a mission for years to not let anyone within my influence do so.

Let’s face it, the worst possible thing that could possibly happen to us in this life is to miss  our appointment to salvation. You know, the Bible says, that God is not willing that any should perish. And the Father has His own unique ways that serve to draw us all to Him. But right on the heels of that….it seems obvious that the second worse thing that could happen to us is to miss our destiny, the reason and purpose we’re on the planet in the first place.

We must first consider, and then hopefully come to the obvious conclusion, that we are on the planet, first and foremost, for spiritual reasons. Whatever your spiritual, or religious, persuasion is it only makes sense to believe that God has a plan for your life (“I know the plans I have for you….; Jeremiah 29:11); because He does!

Doesn’t matter how far off the path you think you might be….getting back on can be instantaneous! All it takes is a little ‘want to’ on your part! If I were you I’d be asking the Lord, “What’s my life all about?”

He doesn’t keep those things secret from us! 

Get ready ’cause His plans for you are incredible!

Good luck, and blessings, on the journey to fulfilling your destiny!

 

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

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A Word or Two to the Grace Preachers Out There

I’m a grace man. I’ve been a grace man since November the 17th, 1984. That’s when I sat on the edge of my bed, with everything wrong in my life that could be wrong, and prayed this prayer….word for word; “God, if you’re out there, you gotta help me”. That night marked a turnaround in my life, a transformation if you will, that has continued every day since then. Hopefully that transformation will stay in progress from now on. I’m still a long ways from where I need to be….but after 32 years I’m still moving in the right direction.

Because of how I came to the Lord (read about it here), it shaped me into being a grace person. And, even though I cried out to the Lord in all sincerity He really had no good reason to rescue me. But He did it anyway! That, in essence, is what grace is! I experienced His amazing grace firsthand long before I heard anybody teaching on it. I think people who are around me would say that I handle and treat people with grace. *(if not….you have my permission to tell me!)

There has been an upsurge in the last few years on the topic of grace. The ‘finished work of Jesus’ is something a lot of people are talking, and writing, about these days. Clark Whitten’s book, “Pure Grace”, is a good one. And Joe Langley’s, “Unfiltered Grace” would also be a great starting place if you’re interested. Both are personal friends and their books are well written and easy to read.

Grace has become a very controversial issue. A friend put it this way, “If you want to make people mad, preach the Law; if you want to make them furious……preach grace!” I’m finding out there’s some truth to that. It really turns out to be an argument over how good God really is. It’s an important topic and one I think you should give some attention to.

Grace is a subject that God is breathing on. Truth be known, He has always been doing that. Anytime that happens there’s a rash of preachers and teachers jumping on the bandwagon, so to speak. That can be a good thing but it can also bring a lot of problems with it as well. Here’s how; Anytime we teach something but are not walking in it (or at the very least, trying to) the message is tainted. Listeners have a hard time reconciling the truth that they hear (about grace in this instance) with the level of personal integrity with a teacher who doesn’t handle people with grace. Who can blame them?

There are several teachers out there with a huge following. I find myself agreeing with most of what they’re saying. But their prideful and critical (my opinion) attitude toward other preachers/teachers who are not yet where they are in their understanding of grace causes me to ‘not’ be a fan. I don’t think I’m alone.

Here’s how I’d encourage the grace preachers out there:

  • Your understanding of grace is a ‘gift’ to be treasured and stewarded with wisdom and maturity. It’s not something you’ve earned…or even deserved, really. It’s a GIFT!
  • Grace is something that is best understood through experience. I, personally, don’t care how much Bible a guy knows if he doesn’t have some experiential knowledge of the subject.
  • If you’re going to preach it, then at the very least, attempt to walk it out in your attitude, words and dealings with people. Jesus was the best example: He didn’t just ‘have’ a grace message……He ‘was’ the grace message! He embodied the truth He communicated. We should do the same.
  • “Let not many of you be teachers, knowing that you will incur a stricter judgment” It’s a lot more serious if you’re a teacher. *Something to remember: “You teach what you know, but you impart ‘who’ you are!” If it’s coming from a critical heart you’re producing that same critical heart with others. That’s serious!
  • When you mock and make fun of leaders who’ve not been exposed to the message, you alienate them. So, you should take some of the responsibility for the controversy over grace.
  • When you criticize others and use strong words like ‘extortion’ toward those who are still finding their way…..you just lost me! I think you’re losing others as well. And what’s more important…you’re giving others a wrong or skewed perception of grace.
  • When grace is adequately communicated……very few people reject it!
  • Oh, and don’t forget what they say about knowledge! It ‘puffs up’!
  • Grace is a beautiful message; don’t contaminate it with the wrong heart.

Share this message!

You oughta read these, too:

The Elusive Definition of Grace

A Long Ways From the Lord

If He Can Fix My Life…..I Know He Can Fix Yours!

It Ain’t Grace’s Fault!

I Fought the Law….and the Law Won!

There’s Grace For That!

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