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Category Archives: Spiritual

I’m Just the Messenger

This story is one that I’d never heard my entire life until I was almost 40. I remember vividly the day my Mom told it to me. It touched me in the deepest place possible….I think you’ll understand.

My Mom & Dad had tried to have kids but it had resulted in a couple of miscarriages and the loss of a baby girl that’d be two years older than me. They were living in Canadian, Texas and my Mom was pregnant with me and having major complications. She’d been told by the doctor to stay in bed and not do anything strenuous for the duration of the pregnancy. There was a knock on the door one day and a little lady was there who asked my Mom if she could come in and pray for her. She said yes and the little lady came in the house and prayed for her. After she prayed she said to Mom, “Now, you’re going to have this baby and it’s going to be OK. It’s going to be a little boy….and he’ll be God’s messenger.” The little lady left and Mom never saw her again. She asked a couple of people in town about her and was told that she was just some crazy little ‘religious fanatic’ and to not pay any attention to anything she said, or did.

I first heard this story several years after I’d already said, “Yes” to the Lord but the news of it came at a time when I really needed some encouragement and the confirmation helped me to keep moving on.

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Adios ’15

One of the most obvious things we realize as we get older is how fast the years go by. If you’re young you won’t believe how fast until one of these days you look back. Well 2015 has been another of those ‘fast’ years. Looking back over 12 months I’d say it’s been a good one. Oh, there’s been plenty of ups and downs; lots of challenges; a huge helping of things to laugh about and a few things that brought tears, too. But, all in all, there’s been an infinite number of blessings to be thankful to the Lord for! And I’m sure I finished the year in a better place than I started!

Summing it up, it’s been another year of perspective on life that just proves to me again that I don’t  have much of it figured out. The few things that I do have figured out seem to get clearer and clearer as the years go by. I’m pretty ‘solid’ on the utter importance of these: 1) The love of the Father; IT/HE never fails! His goodness is ‘almost’ unbelievable! We’ll only know the fulness of it as we experience it firsthand! It has to be relational!         2) Family! Julie (prettier than the day I married her nearly 39 years ago!), my incredible kids (5 of ’em), my amazing grandkids (8, and soon to be 9!), my folks (in their ’80’s). I could never go anywhere else….every single thing that’s important to me is here! 3) Friends! So many good ones, it’d be futile to try to count them. A few of them have saved my life, and kept me in the game! 4) The ‘Ever-Growing’ Trinity Family! The most unbelievably unique, diverse and quality bunch of people you’d ever find anywhere! It’s a family that’s now scattered all over the United States, Mexico and Canada! Yep, I’m sure about it….those are the things that are important! I’m extremely grateful!

I started this blog exactly a year ago (after a few years of trying to figure out how to get started!). It’s been an interesting writing trip so far.

Here’s a couple of numbers from a year of “The Way I See It”: I’ve made 210 Posts; The posts have been ‘viewed’ (read) just under 45,000 times!

Thanks for joining me!

I started 2015 with a series, “Reflect & Refocus”. It’d be a good place to start your 2016! *Click on the highlighted link. You can figure out where to go from there!

Reflect & Refocus #1

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Retaliate!!

Nobody likes to get pushed around or bullied! Everybody gets subjected to it at least some point in their life. I learned, early on, that if I was going to let someone push me around…..that they’d come back and do it again more often than not. It got me a few bruises and a black eye or two but I don’t think I had any ‘return’ customers. I guess as I got older I had more serious disagreements in taking up for someone else who was getting pushed around. I’ve always had a ‘soft spot’ for kids who didn’t have a dad. I just don’t have much tolerance for someone bullying somebody like that. That zero-tolerance policy got me in a few tight spots and a couple that I was probably lucky to get out of unscathed. And during my rodeo career I was around a group of people day in and day out that if you had a weak spot it’d get exploited and there were more than a few who could make your life miserable if they took a mind to. I never considered myself a ‘fighter’ but I made a resolve early on that I wasn’t going to get pushed around by anyone. 

Our culture, or at least the culture I grew up in, teaches us to retaliate. But if you look at the Bible, which should be our standard of Truth…it communicates a totally different way to handle those kinds of things. A lot of people would quote the Old Testament. In fact I’ve heard it more times than I could keep track of, “Well, you know, it’s an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” And, agreed, the Bible does state that…but that was in the Old Covenant Law….and we’re not ‘under’ that Law anymore! Jesus came to set us free from the Law! And when He came He ushered in a lot of ‘new’ ways to handle just about everything.

Now, instead of and eye for an eye,….He encourages us to ‘turn the other cheek’! And we see His example time after time when getting mistreated….He always retaliated with compassion, love and forgiveness. It’s not the first thing the ‘flesh’ wants to do….in fact it totally goes against the grain of logic and conventional thinking, even American upbringing…..but it’s the right thing to do….and it works!

So, the next time you get wrongly accused, mistreated or pushed around maybe you should consider some serious retaliation! I’m not talkin’ about the ‘old school’ kind….I’m talkin’ about retaliating like He did! The world will change if we’ll do it!

The wrath of man cannot accomplish the righteousness of God! James 1:20

You’ll like this one too:

It Was a Test of Epic Proportions! 

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What If It’s Not to ‘Break’ You,….but to ‘Make’ You?

It’s been about 7-8 years ago; I was riding my bike on a 15 mile jaunt. I like the bike for several reasons. For one, it doesn’t hurt my joints anywhere, and …..2, I like it because I can ride and, at the same time, do some serious thinking, praying, pondering, etc. On this particular day my mind was pretty much preoccupied with the dilemma that two people very close to me were having to go through.

As I prayed for both of them, intensely, the Lord reminded me of at least half a dozen people I’d been involved with over the years that were pitted up against, what at the time appeared to be, insurmountable circumstances. In each of those half dozen or so instances the Lord showed me how He came through for them when it didn’t look like there was any way possible. He also reminded me of how those circumstances somehow ‘catapulted’ them into His perfect will for their lives. In each of those instances the outcome was nothing short of miraculous.

As the Lord encouraged me with those examples I heard His ‘still, small voice’ say to my spirit, “Andy, this is not to ‘break’ them….it’s to ‘make’ them!” I knew at once that this was the voice of the Lord. He always knows just the right thing to say….at just the right time! *And just for the record…not once did I think that the Lord somehow arranged these people’s harsh circumstances so He could teach them a lesson! It’s sad to say but there’s plenty of people out there who think that God does just that. NO WAY!! That totally goes against the nature of a father….and He’s a better Father than any of us could be! 

What the Lord said to me totally, and immediately, put their problems into perfect perspective! ….which brings the conversation to you and me. What if these trials we go through in life are not meant to ‘break’ us….but to ‘make’ us?! The Bible often eludes to the fact that we’re being purified like gold. That all sounds great until you consider how gold is mined and then purified so it can actually be used or sold.

Most of the time that ‘rock’, that’s brought out of the mine, looks absolutely nothing like gold. I mean, you can’t see any gold in it at all. It’s only when that rock is ‘heated’ up to insanely, intense temperatures that the gold begins to emerge. When the heat causes the ore to melt….the impurities come to the surface. The ‘dross’ is scraped off the top and discarded….and the heating process starts again. Sound familiar?!! Well, it’s the exact process that the Father allows us to go through in our ‘being conformed into the image of Jesus’!

As we go through these unpleasant circumstances in life it’d serve us well if we’d consider that maybe, just maybe…..“they’re not to break us…..but to make us”!!

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Room at the Inn?

You know the story; Joseph and Mary arrived at the motel late on that fateful night….only to be informed of the “No Vacancy” status. Not one single room available so they had to search elsewhere. The only thing they could find was a barn,…..equipped with animals,….. so they settled in.

Sometime during that night Mary gave birth to her Baby, precisely as the prophets of old had declared. The Angels showed themselves to the shepherds who were working out in the fields at night. And ‘wise men’ came from far away to witness what was happening there. Without a doubt this was an event that the world would forever commemorate, ….and rightly so!

In this busy time with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, some goofy controversy over Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas, our culture has made it all about shopping, money and commerce. But for the wise ones among us, it’s still about Jesus! And the reality that He was born…..and died….and rose again after He finished the work set before Him….is a guarantee that sin would never again hold us hostage, and that our relationship with His Father (now our Father, too!) cannot, would not ever be revoked! 

On this Christmas Eve we oughta slow down for a minute and just say, “Thanks”. My prayer for you/us is that it’ll be a ‘special’ time for you and your family. And let’s not forget to make some ‘room’ for Him!

Merry Christmas from the Taylors’!! *(kinda like the Griswolds’, only scarier…and more of ’em!)

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Why I Say, “Thank You, Lord”, When I See the KOA Sign!

To begin with, December 18, 2006 was not going to be anywhere near a normal day (none of our days are very normal!) for the Taylor family. Nope it was going to be a big day for us. Clint (oldest son) and Kristy were about to have their third baby. A C-section had been planned for about 8am that morning and, as usual, we were there to celebrate the arrival of Preslie Reece. One of the things I like about the Taylors’ is that when something like this is taking place….the entire Crew (there’s quite a few of us!) is there! Pretty amazing family trait if you ask me.

Kristy’s surgery had been postponed for an hour so we made our way down to the coffee shop in the hospital. While we were sitting there my cell phone rang and I could see that it was Cole (our 3rd son) calling in. He couldn’t be there at the hospital with us because of his job with a local sign/billboard company. I was sure he was calling in to see if we’d had the baby yet. When I answered the phone Cole’s boss was on the other end. he said, “Andy, Cole’s been hurt really bad and he’s headed  to the hospital!” 

Within just a few minutes they notified us that Kristy had been taken back for her surgery. So, here we were, having a grandbaby on one side of the hospital….and on the other side of the hospital our son was coming in and we had no idea what to expect…except that it was ‘bad’! It was almost the full range of emotions that we experienced at that moment.

Cole and a co-worker were working  on a KOA sign on Interstate 40 between exit 50-51. Cole was up it the lift bucket, 40 feet up….on his way up to 80 feet when the bearing assembly in the bucket broke and gave way. The lift which telescoped out came crashing down. When it finally hit bottom Cole’s face hit the railing around the bucket. He was knocked unconscious just momentarily. (Cole was as fit as he could possibly be, working out in the gym nearly every day. I’ve always thought that contributed to saving his life that day) His co-worker immediately called 911.

When Cole arrived via ambulance at the ER it was a terrible sight to see for Cole’s wife Kelly, and Julie and me. Eyes were pretty much swelled shut, face bruised and red….but the worst part of all was the absence of 6 of his teeth in the front. *It was only a few days before this that I told Julie how great a smile Cole had! …now….no teeth!

After a battery of x-rays the doctor returned to the ER and said to Cole, “Well, I found your teeth.” Cole answered, “Did I swallow them?” “No, they’re up in here!”, the doctor said, pointing to Cole’s face. All six of his front teeth were pushed completely up into his nasal cavity!

They stabilized Cole, loaded him in an ambulance and set out for the OU Trauma Center in Oklahoma City. We took a good look at our new grand baby girl, Preslie, grabbed some overnight clothes and headed for Oklahoma City, too.

The trauma team worked on Cole for nearly 8 hours that day. Most of that time was spent working in his mouth. We were home by the next afternoon and Cole was holding his brand new niece!

It was just one week before Christmas and we had so much to be thankful to the Lord for! ……and that’s why I say, “Thank You, Lord”, every single time I pass the KOA sign!

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*There’s a great Part II to this story coming within the next couple of months. Stay tuned!

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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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“The Way I See It” #200!

Yesterday was another milestone for me as a writer. My post, Weapons of Mass Construction, was the #200th one! That’s 200 since January 1 of this year. Sure seems like a lot when you look back from here. I’ve learned a lot of things by writing on a regular basis, not the least of which is that writing seems to help me figure me out. There’s something about writing down your thoughts that seems to be good for a soul. I’d recommend it for anyone…and I can tell you that the hardest part is to just get started. It took me a few years to write the first one.

I’ll say again that my main reason for writing is to help. Some of the posts are serious, some are funny but all of them are written from a perspective of a life that the Father has blessed immeasurably! My deepest hope is that something you’ve read has helped you to simplify your relationship with Him, and maybe get a glimpse of the Creator of the Universe Who I think modern religion may have grossly misrepresented. He’s better and more gracious than religion has portrayed Him to be…but you won’t find the full truth of that until you’re connecting relationally with Him. 

I appreciate your taking the time to read the posts. I look at every name that clicks the “Like” button. I especially appreciate your verbal feedback. I think it helps me to get better at what I’m doing. If you think they’re valuable in some way I’d appreciate you ‘passing the word’. Every time you click the “Share” button you make it available to an entire new, broader audience.

If  you’re new to the blog….take some time to go back through the “Archives” and play a little ‘catch up’. Best case scenario, go to the site, click the “Follow” button. You’ll get an email every time I make a post.

The posts that have garnered the most “Views” (nearly 41,000 total!) are not necessary my favorite ones. Below, I have listed my Top-5 Favorite Posts. Give ’em a read and let me know which have been your favorites, or ones that have really ‘spoken’ to you. Thanks a bunch!

You May Not Know This, But I’m  Kind of a Big Deal!

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

You’ve Gotta Quit Calling Yourself a “Sinner”!

Quit Telling Me What The Problem Is!!

All I Know Is, God Loved John Very, Very Much!

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What If I’d Said, No?

I didn’t….so it’s just theoretical. I’m not going to….so don’t get all uptight about it. But occasionally it does go through my mind…..mostly at times when I’m down or discouraged. Yeah, people like me have those times too. Most won’t admit it…fearing it to be a sign of weakness. And, without a doubt, there are those in every group that could start the ‘feeding frenzy’ when a spiritual leader admits he’s actually human, and vulnerable. And, from what I’ve seen by observing other leaders…church people can be some of the most vicious and mean-spirited of them all. Crazy huh?!

It was in 1986 that I heard the call of the Lord on my life. I remember the day well. I was training a horse in the big round pen at the ranch near Allison, Texas. I got off, tied him up and drove the 7 miles to town to talk to my Pastor, Ronnie Chadwick. *(click to read the account) As I remember, it was pretty clear from the Lord. And also, just as clear, was my response to Him that day. It was an easy, “Yes”! I had absolutely no idea what it all meant but I was ‘all-in’, whatever that was.

It was the same when we said “Yes” to the work in Sayre. I’d been asked a dozen times or more to take the little group (6-8) and be their leader. I hadn’t heard a single thing from the Lord that I should do it. But in one critical week the Lord spoke clearly to both Julie and me. We said, “Yes”, and the rest is history, so to speak.

I’m not sure what I’d be doing….or where I’d even be had I said “No”, on those two occasions. For me it’s kind of scary to think about. I doubt I’d be in Sayre, Oklahoma. I’d probably be doing something involving horses and cattle, or ranching. It’s what I knew best…and what I loved doing. On some of the really hard days that life, as hard as it can be too, looks pretty dang good.

But I think about the things that I’d be missing had I said, “No”. I’d have missed at least some of the amazing things the Lord has miraculously done in, through and around us in the last 30+ years. It’s almost embarrassing to admit the times down through the years that ‘quitting’ seemed the thing to do. But I’m not a quitter, never have been…it’s a family trait. I’ve noticed people down through the years who quit, knowing they shouldn’t have,…and it appears that they don’t like themselves much after that. Of course the call of the Lord is one very valid reason for not quitting. But the thing that’s kept me going all these years is my incredible family (best on the planet!)….and this amazing bunch of people at Trinity Fellowship that actually believe in what we’re doing…..and have bet their lives on making a difference!

So, yep…I’m human, and a pretty flawed one at that! But I’m on a pretty decent 30 year run of saying “Yes” to the Lord. My policy has always been to be ‘real’. I’m not of the, ‘fake it ’til you make it’, variety. I’m glad I said, “Yes”. And I still don’t know what it all means! But, I’m all-in for whatever He says!

If you like this one….You’ll like this one, too:

Thank You, Mother Teresa

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