The Day I Almost Sang “The Old Rugged Cross”!!

I know…….scary thought, huh?!! You oughta been me! Don’t get me wrong now…..I do sing…..but never, ever where anyone can hear me! Well, maybe if you’re right next to me, or in front of me in church, you might get to hear me. But you’d have to really be listenin’! And I’ll have to admit, nobody does “The Tennessee Stud” quite like I do! Truth is, but she’ll never admit to it, it’s one of the reasons Julie married me in the first place!

Here’s how it went down; I’m in Canadian, Texas, not far from where I grew up, about to do a  funeral. The family is at the door ready to come down the aisle. A long-time friend and deacon in the church there comes over to me and says, “Now Andy, as soon as the family’s seated, you can step up to the mic and lead the congregation in “The Old Rugged Cross”. I know he’s kidding…so I say, “You’re kidding, right?!” He’s got a serious look on his face and says, “No, I’m not kidding”. I said, “You better be kidding!” He said, “I’m not kidding, you can do it.” To which I replied, “I ain’t doing it!!” Well, he’s real serious now and he says, You’ll have to do it or we won’t have a funeral!” About to have a heart attack, I immediately replied, “Well, you decide…..but I ain’t singin’!!”

Time stood still! It was tense…Oh, and did I say that the family was at the door waiting to come in??! I’m telling you it was a ‘standoff’, and the clock was tickin’!  I guess he could see I wasn’t budging so he said, “OK, I’ll do it then.” You talk about a ‘sigh of relief’!! At that very moment they signaled the family to come in. He led them in “The Old Rugged Cross”. The service went off without a ‘hitch’. If I’d had to sing it, I’d venture to say they’d still be talkin’ about it today!! That’s how it was “the day I almost sang “The Old Rugged Cross”!!!


He Did It ‘HIS’ Way!

Frank Sinatra did it ‘his way’. A lot of others have done it their own way and it worked fine. I like that. I admire someone who goes at the world full blast and makes a success of it. There’s definitely something to be said for those who do it like that. But I”m in a vocation where doing it ‘my way’ just won’t work.

I grew up a cowboy; not a wannabe cowboy, a real one. That’s really all I ever wanted to be. But along about 1986 my life took a very unexpected turn. I’d began attending church in my little hometown of Allison, Texas somewhere around 1985 and it wasn’t long after that I felt like I needed to be involved more than just showing up on Sundays. So I did. My first spot was to teach the teenage Sunday School class in the First Baptist Church. There I was, 32 years old, and having not grown up in church trying to teach a dozen or more teenagers who all grew up in church and for the most part from good, committed Christian families. All of them knew a lot more Bible than I did. But it was an incredible place for me to grow. Not once did I show up for that class without studying and preparing. Heck, I knew I had to or I’d be ‘busted’! I grew a lot in those couple of years and nearly all of those teenagers are some amazing, productive kingdom adults today. I’d like to think I had just a little to do with it. That feels good.

The Lord really started dealing with me about ministry. I gave my testimony a time or two at different places and it seemed like the Lord really blessed it. I remember well the day that I ‘knew’ I was called. I went to town from the ranch and talked to my Pastor, Ronnie Chadwick. I told him I felt like the Lord was calling me to ‘preach’. That was the only terminology I had at the time. I remember his advice clearly, “Forget it, Andy”. I said, “What do you mean, forget it?” He said, “Because if you can forget it, it ain’t God!” Great advice! And I couldn’t forget it.

So, here I am today, thirty years later with a great church full of amazing people. The challenges have never stopped, facing some big ones even today. But the Lord is faithful. I mean, really faithful! To bless a guy like me who knew absolutely nothing about the kingdom of God. I say it often….and it’s true; I’m just living proof that the Lord can use anybody!

I hope when I’m done somebody will notice that I didn’t do it ‘my way’! It’d be nice to be remembered as somebody who did it, “HIS Way”!!

PS-I’m still a Cowboy!


Business = Finished!

If you’re not familiar with the Professional Bull Riders organization this post might not mean much to you. And if you’re not familiar with the PBR….maybe you should be. Bull Riding is the most extreme of all the extreme sports. If you have a disagreement on that thought, go get on a bull and, chances are, you’ll quickly change your mind. Bull Riding as a sport has evolved over the past 20 + years into a high-profile, spectator friendly sport that has made celebrities of the bull riders, as well as the bulls. Sports arenas around the country are filling up when the PBR comes to town much due to the overt, raw danger of the sport and the vanishing individualistic nature of the, authentic, American cowboy.

An event was held this past weekend in Decatur, Texas unlike any Bull Riding event ever before, and almost assuredly, will never happen again. “Unfinished Business” pitted eight of the most high-profile PBR Bull Riders in the organization’s history, all retired for a number of years, riding for a, winner take all, $160,000 payoff. Cody Custer and Mike White, PRCA World Champions; Tater Porter, J.W. Hart, PBR World Finals Champions; Justin McBride, Chris Shivers and Michael Gaffney all PBR World Champions and Ross Coleman, perennial PBR World Finals Qualifier.

To say that these men had ‘unfinished business’ in the arena couldn’t be further from the truth. These eight guys left it all in the arena every single time they ever competed, without exception. Their primary reason for coming out of retirement for this, once in a lifetime, event was in the name of charity. I don’t care who you are, you gotta appreciate that! *(consider that a couple of them are nearing 50 yrs of age!)

Shivers and Hart rode their bulls and split the $160,000. The other six didn’t complete their 8-second ride. But, just like always…..they gave it everything they had… last time! I care about Bull Riding; I’ve been directly involved with it in one way or another pretty much my whole life. I’d like to see Bull Riding continue to come to prominence as a sport. My reasons are personal. But I look at the field of bull riders today and I wonder who’ll take the place of these men. I don’t see very many out there on the radar screen, today, the caliber of these guys in the way of sheer effort….and the desire to be ‘ambassadors’ for the sport. The door’s wide open for some ‘young guns’ to step up!

Thank you Cody Custer, Mike White, Tater Porter, J.W. Hart, Justin McBride, Chris Shivers, Michael Gaffney and Ross Coleman….for showing unprecedented ‘class’ with every ride and every interview your entire career! Thanks from us older guys that never had the opportunity to ride for a million dollars.

Thanks for showing the rest of the world what the sport of Bull Riding is really about! You finished your business…..and you finished it well!!


VIP #4 – Paul Luchsinger

My rodeo career was just finishing up and Paul’s was just getting in full swing. We’d crossed paths a couple of times but we didn’t really know one another. Fast forward a few years and we had moved from Texas to Oklahoma and started the church in Sayre in ’89. I started hearing about Paul and, his then wife, Susie’s (Reba McEntire’s sister) ministry, which was pretty significant to say the least. We, again, crossed paths a time or two but I never got to spend much time with them.

In about 2008 I bumped into Paul in Wheeler, Texas. We had just finished a leadership training event in a church there and went out to eat. He was in the restaurant with a friend. We talked briefly and went on our way. He said later that the Lord told him that night that he needed to move to Sayre. He came over for a visit or two but it was a full two years before he moved here permanently. After being here a short time, he confessed that he should’ve been here all along.

Paul was not good. Diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and in the process of getting a divorce. His relationship with his kids (all grown) was strained, at best. He was angry, bitter and pretty hard to get along with. He had so many regrets about his life and just couldn’t find any peace to move on. He sorely regretted doing ministry from a condemning standpoint (his own testimony). And just when he’d be at his worst, someone would inevitably show up or call and tell him that 20 years ago, something he said to them totally changed their life. We included him in every single thing we did here. This story’s not about us, but there are some people around here that just won’t let you stay in a defeated mode. We propped him up, we encouraged him, we chastised him when it was unavoidable, we straight-up told him to quit beating himself up,…..but most of all we just loved him, ……and he started to change.

It was a process…but he caught the significance of having a real relationship with the Father, which in turn began to affect every other relationship that he had. He caught the tsunami of God’s grace and he was never the same after that. He started backtracking and repairing broken relationships, none of the least of which was with his children, E.P., Lucchese and Samuel. He was determined to love them and to be there for them in a way, which he said, he’d never really done before. He got that accomplished!

I often compare Paul Luchsinger with the Apostle Paul of bible fame. Both were full of dead religion until their ‘encounter’ with the God of grace. And after that….neither one was ever to be the same! His bitterness was totally gone and he was a blessing to every single person he came into contact with. There’s no telling how many people he helped as he pointed them to the Father. Even when his health was deteriorating he never complained….he always made it about everyone else. He ‘fought the good fight’ like nobody I’ve ever seen before….and may never see again.

I was in North Carolina when Paul graduated to heaven. Not embarrassed to admit that I shed quite a few tears when I received the news. I’m a little sad for us….but not sad for Paul at all. Paul Luchsinger got well in Sayre, Oklahoma! He finished STRONGI’m sure that he’s not just a VIP in my books, but undoubtedly a VIP in the Father’s eyes! 

**Paul Luchsinger was promoted to heaven on May 12, 2015


You Don’t Have to Have Had a Good Dad to be a Good Dad…..!

When it comes to dads I’ve had it better than about anyone I know! Cliff Taylor is about the best example of a dad you could possibly have. To this day he’s the hardest working man I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen him do business on his ‘word’ all my life. I’ve never once in my 61+ years seen him do one person wrong. He’s been a great example to me in every facet of his life. But more important than all of that is how he’s been as a dad. He gave my brother, Monty, and I a pattern of how a dad really ought to be. He helped us, nurtured us and loved us….both in word and in deed. So, as dads go, I’ve had the very best……I would have no excuse if I were a failure as a dad. I think I’m a decent dad myself. I doubt if I’m as good as he was but I’m still getting better, after 37 years.

These days I see lots of men that are good dads but one of the things that amazes me are these men that had a ‘no-good’ dad (by their own admission), but themselves are some of the best dads out there. I love that! I think much of it derives from wanting to do more for their children than was done for them. And the sense of pain and mental anguish that they might have experienced, they’re not willing to let their own little ones experience. I admire that a lot.

Of course, the best case scenario is that we had a good dad to begin with. I have learned something over the past 15 years or so and it proves to nearly always be true. As we come into our ‘sonship’ with the Father….we start to take on His characteristics. Those who are becoming aware of that sonship and who are engaging in relationship with the Father, I think, ….make the very best dads.

There’s so many benefits of connecting relationally with the Father and this is just one…..but it’s an important one! You don’t have to have had a good dad to be a good dad…..but if you’re in the process of learning to be a ‘son’ from the Father, you’ll be an exceptional dad!!


Avoid the Vending Machine, Microwave, Green Chile Burritos at the Albuquerque Airport at All Costs!!

Rodeo season was in full swing. In the spring of 1980 I was traveling with Gary Toole from Mangum, Oklahoma. We had ridden in Lake Charles, Louisiana then drove most of the night to Ft. Worth where we met a pilot from my hometown with our plane to go to Tucson to ride that afternoon. We made a routine stop in Albuquerque for fuel and to stretch our legs a little bit. Walking down the hall of the airport there was a strategically placed vending machine with several choices of food, none of which looked edible to me. One of the choices was the Green Chile Burrito! First time I’d ever seen that in a vending machine! We made a quick restroom stop and then headed back down the hallway toward the plane. Gary stopped at the vending machine and started digging in his pocket for some cash. He retrieved enough cash for, not one, but TWO of the Green Chile Burritos! As soon as he pulled them out of the machine I took one look at ’em and said, “MISTAKE”! (to which he paid absolutely no attention to at all) Well, he microwaved those burritos up just right and in nothing flat we’re back in the plane headed for Tucson.

I’ve always had a pretty strong stomach, not much makes me sick. In fact I’ve only thrown up 5 or 6 times in my whole life. But the one thing that will make me give it up… to be around someone else throwing up. Yep, that’ll do it for me every time. I don’t know, maybe it’s the sound of someone gaggin’; it’s the smell of it for sure….but nothing can get to me any quicker than that!

After driving all night we were both dead tired. As soon as we cleared the runway I immediately went to sleep. Gary, as soon as he wolfed down those burritos, was going to get him some sleep too. We were about 30 minutes from Tucson when ‘that’ smell I was just talking about filled the plane. I woke up and looked across at Gary. He’s found a small zip-lock bag, about sandwich size, that had a good size tear in one corner. He’s got the hole pinched off and he’s throwing up in this teeny-tiny zip-lock bag! (which by now is full …and running over!) The hole in the bag is too big to get completely shut off by his thumb and forefinger… the puke is running down his hand, down his elbow and dripping in the floor of the plane. Well, I guess you know what that means for me!! I immediately grabbed a denim jacket and pulled it over my head, and plugged my ears all at the same time. It’s gettin’ serious for me now! I’m not sure what I had to eat the night before but I gagged it all right up to my gizzard about 40 times before we FINALLY got on the ground in Tucson. I never did throw up but I was as close as you can possibly get for 30 minutes.

Why do I tell this story, you ask?? Just to give you a ‘heads up’. If you’re ever in the Albuquerque airport and a hunger pain hits ‘ya…….avoid the vending machine, microwave, Green Chile Burritos at all costs!!


The ‘Baddest’ Dang Turkey in Arkansas!

The last few years of my rodeo career I traveled quite a bit with Denny Flynn. (Inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame) Denny was born and raised in Charleston, Arkansas. Great guy and a great friend, even to this day. His folks, Waldo and Vida Flynn are some of the best folks you could ever meet. They were always like ‘family’ to me.

I spent quite a bit of time at their place in Charleston throughout the years I was rodeoing. I always enjoyed my time there, …….well nearly always. You see, they had this big ‘ol tame, white, Tom turkey! And this dude had my number!! He’d see me walk out of the house, and here he’d come! This son of a gun must’ve weighed a hundred pounds and he ‘had it in’ for me! I don’t know what his problem was but he did NOT like me. I had to watch him like a hawk; no way could I turn my back on him. And if I did, he’d make a run at me. He definitely had his bluff in on me….I ain’t kidding!

One day we had been sorting some cattle in the lots and Denny and Waldo headed to the house first. When I came through the gate to head to the house…..the evil beast spotted me.…and here he comes! When I’d turn to try to run he’d run up on me like he was gonna jump on me and flog me. Heck, who knows what that crazy son of a gun was gonna do to me! Well, I finally made it the house and there’s an eight foot gap between the house and the laundry room and he’s got me hemmed up there. I picked up a broken hoe handle and it was a standoff. He wasn’t backing down. I commenced to giving him a cussin’, which I could do pretty fluently in those days. In fact I used all of the cuss words I knew several times, rearranging the sequence of them with precision accuracy! I backed my way to the door going into the house; I was safe!

Denny’s mom, who was about the nicest person you could ever find, had been watching the whole thing from her kitchen window…which was open….which was about 2 feet from where we had our standoff….and she’d seen, and heard ,the whole thing. She kindly said, “Andy, is that ‘ol turkey picking on you again?”  I was embarrassed that Vida had to hear me talk like that but, hey….it was life or death at the time! I never left the Flynn house again without Waldo, Denny…..or my hoe handle!


“The Way I See It” – After Three Months

The year is 1/4 over with!! My Blog, “The Way I See It” is three months old. Below are some interesting numbers. I’m posting this on the weekend because I’m told that some people who are new to the blog take extra time on the weekends to ‘go back’ and read many of the previous posts. At any rate, it’s been an enjoyable three months. I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts and I hope they’ve been helpful to you! If that’s the case, please “LIKE”, “SHARE” …….. and pass the word!

Here’s the numbers:

3 – The number of months I’ve been blogging

55 – The number of blog posts

4,300 – Followers

6,140 – Visitors

13,277 – The number of ‘Views’

The Top Ten Viewed Blog Posts:

*Click on Link to View

1 – Lady Gaga, Little Monsters & Jesus

2 – VIP #1 – Booger Bryant

3 – Branson to Cherokee – The Longest Night I Ever Spent

4 – Reflect & Refocus #1

5 – The Truth Does Not ‘Set’ You Free

6 – “Obviously, I’m God’s Favorite!”

7 – What Are You Saying to Yourself?

8 – “Be Present!”

9 – “Be Who You Are!”

10 – Laugh a Little…No Make That a Lot!

A Few of My Personal Favorites:

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

“Loosen Up, Sandy Baby!”

Why I Think Cowboys Make Good ‘Hands’ For the Lord


Why I Think Cowboys Make Good ‘Hands’ For the Lord!

For the person who doesn’t quite understand what I’m talking about when I call someone a ‘hand’, it’s a term often used in ranch or cowboy circles. It refers to someone who knows what they’re doing, and does a very good job at it….that’s what we call a ‘hand’. 

I’ve been a cowboy all my life. Don’t do much cowboyin’ these days but once a cowboy, always a cowboy. It’s a ‘heart’ thing, an attitude thing! I grew up on a ranch in the Texas Panhandle so I’m way familiar with that kind of cowboyin’. In addition to that I was a rodeo cowboy as well, starting as an 8 year old kid in junior rodeos in Texas and Oklahoma mostly. Beyond that I entered the professional ranks and traveled extensively throughout the US and Canada for 6 or 7 years. And although I’ve moved on from that vocation and lifestyle I still stay in the loop, so to speak, with what’s going on in professional rodeo. Like I said, “Once a cowboy, always a cowboy”.

Being in the ministry now for nearly 30 years I’ve observed a phenomenon that seems to prove itself, at least to me, over and over. Cowboys are generally a little (or a lot!) gun shy of religion and religious people. Can’t say as I blame ’em…I’m a little that way, still, myself! They sure don’t like the pushy method and they’ll dang sure tell you about it if you get in their space. They can smell a phony, churchy manipulator a mile away! But knowing as many cowboys as I do, I don’t think I’ve ever met an unbeliever. There’s plenty of them not walking out a godly life, I guess you could surmise. But most of them have some kind of relationship with the Lord.

When a cowboy really comes to the Lord, they go ‘all in’! I think one reason is that they’ve tried about everything else out there to fill up that empty spot that all of us have. They’re dependable, they’re not afraid to work, they handle people well, they don’t just half-ass do things….they care! They’re not going to do the religious ‘dog and pony show’ for anyone. They’re genuine and authentic in their approach to Christianity. There oughta be more of that happening out there.

Cowboys would make great ‘hands’ for your church…..but it better be REAL!


VIP #2 – Sarge Cook

My thinking when I decided to use part of my blog material to talk about VIP’s was to write about people who had, in some way, influenced my life in a positive way. Looking back there’s been quite a few that are definitely worth mentioning; people who made my life richer and people who made life a lot more interesting. If you didn’t read my blog post, “VIP #1 – Booger Bryant”, you should.

To say that Sarge Cook was a good friend of mine, would totally sell it short; he was a bunch more like family than just a friend. I first met Sarge in 1979 at the Ft. Worth Stock Show Rodeo. I had gotten married in 1977 and just rodeoed minimally in ’77 and ’78, staying pretty close to home. I asked my brother, Monty Taylor, who was rodeoing extensively those years what were the rankest (a term used by pro bull riders to denote those that buck the most and are the hardest to ride) bulls out there in Professional Rodeo. He quickly answered, “# 124 of Bernis Johnson’s”. Meant nothing to me since I hadn’t seen him buck. I hit the road in 1979 and the first time I saw #124 I was putting my bull rope on him in the short-go at Ft. Worth!

I rode #124 that night and won the short-go. I didn’t know it but I won the respect of this guy, Sarge Cook, who was Bernis Johnson’s lifelong friend and worked all of his rodeos. He was a mountain of a Man, 25 years older than me, and tougher’n a boot, that nobody messed with. We became friends, really good friends. Sarge believed in me; don’t know why….he just did. After my career was over in 1981 Sarge and I kept in touch. We’d have long phone conversations every month or two. He always made me laugh.

After I came to the Lord in ’84 we often talked about it. He’d give me heck about being a preacher, all in good fun. I’d just tell him that I was ‘livin’ proof’ that the Lord could use anybody! I’d call him up and say, “I bet I’m the only preacher that’s called you today!” He’d laugh, cuss a little and reply, “Well, by God, you’re the only one that I’d answer if they did call!”  We had several conversations about the Lord. Sarge was a believer, without a doubt. But he didn’t disclose that info to even those closest to him.

He had both knees replaced at one time and really had a hard time getting over it, but he did. I called him on his birthday and talked to him well over an hour. It was the next day that I got the call that he was sitting on his bed and just laid back and died. I couldn’t believe it, I was devastated. I ain’t embarrassed to say I shed quite a few tears that day.

Cody Custer and I drove to Ft. Worth where I did his funeral service in the old Cowtown Coliseum, a fitting place for his going away party. It was there that I got the opportunity to tell several hundred people about Sarge’s relationship with the Lord. You can go through life and meet a lot of people. You can even make a lot of great friends along the way. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a friend like Sarge Cook! I’m sure looking forward to seeing him again!