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I Did It Just For Him!

*Today marks a year since my Dad left for heaven. I wrote this blog on his birthday back in August. He would’ve been 87. It seems fitting to publish it today.

The 15th of August; For as many years as I was old enough to remember we did something to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. This year was a little different in that, this time, he wasn’t here to enjoy it with us. We did, however get together anyway. Monty drove up from Ft.Worth. We had supper at Rib Crib with just about everyone there, minus Cole and his little family, (Calli Softball practice) and Cade.

As we sat at the restaurant the TV’s were tuned to the Olympics. We watched several events including the preliminaries for the women’s 400 meter hurdles. Then it was time for the women’s 100 meter finals. Allison Felix, the USA’s marquis sprinter and most decorated American woman track and field athlete, was the odds-on favorite to win the gold medal. She had a great start, ran her race, and it appeared that she was clearly going to win the gold. But just at the very end of the race the sprinter from the Bahamas did something that was totally unexpected. Rather than just running ‘through’ the finish line she dove forward at just the precise moment….stealing the gold medal from Allison Felix.

You’re probably wondering what in the world this has to do with my Dad. Well, the 100 meter finals and the miraculous finish took me back about 47 years. I was a junior in high school. One of the things I was pretty decent at was running the hurdles. I broke the school records in the high hurdles and low hurdles that had stood since 1929.

It was at the district track meet. I hadn’t been beaten in the highs or low hurdles up to that point in the entire track season. There were several really good competitors but if I’d just run my race I could beat them. I wasn’t the fastest by any means but no one could beat me out of the blocks and I could navigate the hurdles better than most of them. But on this day there was a new guy. First time I’d seen him. We were in the same preliminary heat in the high hurdles…and he beat me. I ran a good race…and he still beat me. We had the two fastest times in the prelims so in the finals we’re lined up in the two middle lanes.

Dad didn’t always get to be at the track meets but he was there that day. I wanted to do my very best for him. I got off to my usual great start but so did the other guy. In fact, for 110 yards there was never a foot or two lead for either of us. It was literally neck-and-neck. We cleared the last hurdle and he had me beat by a foot or two. Ten feet from the finish line, he still had me beat. But I wanted to win this race in the worst possible way……for my Dad. I felt like I’d be letting him down if I didn’t win. But, for all practical purposes this guy’s got me beat. But at the last possible second I did exactly what the gal from the Bahamas did. I dove….with everything that was in me. My right shoulder hit the asphalt track and it took most of the hide off for about 8 inches……but I won the race!

I was glad I’d won the race….but the excitement wasn’t really for me. I was glad to win  because I was determined to do it for him. I don’t think I ever told Dad that I did that just for him. I wanted him to be proud of me. And for me to ‘not’ put out, and give it everything I had would make me feel like I was lettin’ him down. We learned from our folks that whatever you were doing, you give it everything you got! That’s what they did.

But you know,…..all the hundreds of things he ever did for us, he never once had to say, “I did that for you”.

We just knew!

Try these:

VIP’s #10 – Cliff & Charlene Taylor

VIP #8 – Monty Taylor

Labor Day Out on the ‘Ol ‘Lazy J’

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What’s ‘Right’ With It?

I was watching ESPN early this morning. There was a piece on the Olympics in Rio. The focus of the segment was on the Zika virus and the crime rate in Rio, which has been escalating for several years. It was also mentioned that with the Athens Olympics, there was a high risk of terrorism; with Sochi it was the possibility that many of the venues that would hold thousands of spectators would not be completed by competition time. Of course, those are all things that need to be considered, especially if you’re making the trip down there. So, all in all, it was a good and informative piece of journalism.

It occurred to me as I listened and watched that we are so geared in our culture to focus on the negative….rather than the positive. We’re bombarded from every direction it seems. The media often reports nothing but negative news. It’s mostly about ‘what’s wrong’. I get that. It seems that there’s an insatiable desire by the general public to want to hear bad news.  After all, the bad news is what causes the ratings to surge.

The problem is that, as a culture, we’ve taken on some of those same attitudes. And, what’s way more serious is the potential for us, who call ourselves ‘believers’, to take on that same mindset. We should be people having a message of hope. These dark, discouraging times should be a great opportunity for us to ‘shine’. After all, we have the answers to the worlds’ problems. But as long as we’re just joining in on the fray….our voice will be muted.

Rather than looking for the ‘bad’, or negative, in everything…..maybe we should try to find something good to focus on. 

“If you can’t think of something good to say, don’t say nothin’ at all”…..still good advice!

Check these out:

It Feels Good To Be “Believed In”!!

If You Love Someone….You Should Tell Them!

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Shift Happens!

 Well, I bet that got your attention….for all the wrong reasons, too, no doubt! Lol. I’m not talking about the bumper sticker that you’re so familiar with, although there is some common ground between that and what I’m writing about today.

I was having a conversation with a young guy about a week ago. He’s a very sharp young guy…and one that I’d consider a ‘son’ in the Lord. He has tons of potential, and for his age displays a lot of character and maturity. I often think about how far ahead of the ‘curve’ he and a bunch of other young ones, are….compared to where I was, spiritually, in my mid to late ’20’s. It’s truly a blessing to see…and to know that I at least have had a little bit of influence with them is extremely rewarding.

He’s at a ‘juncture’ in his life; not a bad place at all but a place where he really doesn’t know exactly what to do. It’s the Lord that has brought him to this place….and it’ll be the Lord that’ll direct him from here. I do appreciate these young guys ‘leaning’ on me at times like this but I’m determined to never take the place of the Lord in their lives. And, while, many times I know exactly what decision they should make….I nearly always think it’s best to let them…and the Lord flesh it out. It seems to work and I really think the Lord likes that scenario a bunch better. But the most important thing that happens is the person learns to put his dependency on the Lord…..and not on me. That’s very, very healthy!

Times like these form and shape young believers (old ones too!) into their true identity. That’s where the title of this blog comes into play. When we’re faced with an issue, a problem or a dilemma and we arrive at the point of decision….there’s a ‘shift’ that takes place. The new understanding brings us into a ‘new’ place, a new point of perspective; we automatically begin to see things different. And in more ways than one….everything changes!

So, roll with it! And, keep in mind that anyone who’s serious about following the Lord is going to face a lot of times like that. It’s just a normal part of ‘the journey’. So the next time you see the ‘other bumper sticker’, let it be a reminder that ‘Shift Really Does Happen’!!

If you’re interested in one of my very favorite topics, “Hearing the Lord”, you really should read these:

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 1

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 2

If God Has Your Heart, He Can Get Your Feet Where They Belong!

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

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Lives Matter!

This is  “Re-Post” from May 27, 2015. In light of recent events it seemed relevant to post it again.

Lots of conflict on the news lately. It seems that racial tension is nearly as high as it was in the ’60’s. I remember that. I actually thought we had made some major strides in overcoming that in the last few decades but it doesn’t take too many like Al Sharpton egging it on to get everyone stirred up again. In my opinion he’s used up way more than his fifteen minutes of fame!

The cry from communities like we’ve seen in Baltimore and Ferguson, MO is that “Black Lives Matter”. I could not agree more! It’s kind of a ‘no brainer’, huh? I saw a sign in a yard in a nearby town that says that “Police Lives Matter”. Agree again! The truth is, and only an idiot would argue otherwise, that all lives matter!  I’m discouraged that in the greatest nation on the planet we’re even having this discussion. I don’t doubt that in many areas there are some strong prejudices and biases against minorities. I’m a country boy and I haven’t had to deal with that  much, so I don’t consider myself an expert in the least. I just know it doesn’t work….it doesn’t work for anyone! It’s the classic ‘lose-lose’ situation!

I think we’ve gotta stop making it a ‘white’ issue, or a ‘black’ issue and make it a human being issue! “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” still works! I agree that it’s a deeper and more complex discussion and that there’s at least dozen or more points to be considered. But let’s not make it any more complicated than it already is. 

If there’s anything positive going to happen, you and I should at least do our part. A good start is deciding that “Lives Matter”….. all of them! And anytime we see racial prejudices in our little world, we should step in, if possible, and be the voice of reason, righteousness and reconciliation. We should take the position of ‘peacemakers’ and see what happens. I know the Lord’ll bless the effort.

I doubt that many of my regular blog readers are racist…..hopefully none! So, in that sense….I’m preaching to the choir. But if you were to “Share” this post it might just hit someone that could make a huge difference. In the meantime, let’s all decide that “Lives Matter”!!

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Why I Don’t Watch Christian TV

Let me first say that I’m not trying to influence anyone in any way. To watch….or not to watch…that’s your own business. And if you’re getting blessed by Christian TV….watch on!! I’m just stating my own opinion. And my reasons for not watching may not be valid for you in the least. When my life first ‘made the turn’, so to speak, back in November of ’84 I did watch quite a bit of Christian TV. I even watched Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker some. I did find them to be a little peculiar but, what the heck, I did learn a few things by watching their show. Same with Paul and Jan Crouch; peculiar people but no big deal at the time. And I do believe that lots of people were blessed through their TV ministries, even though I didn’t send my $100 for the little bottle of ‘holy water’ from the Red Sea.

But the further I went the less I watched TBN, The 700 Club and shows like that. For the most part, at least for me, it started feeling un-authentic, a little too much put-on, and way too theatrical for my liking. I would catch Jack Hayford from time to time, which was always good. There were a few others who weren’t ‘regulars’ that I’d try to watch if I had the chance. But it wasn’t too long that I found myself not watching Christian TV programming at all. (Been about 20 years now) And now if I’m surfing through the DISH channels and happen to cross one of those networks it just seems that I’m now further and further away from where they are and what they’re saying…..and from what I believe and perceive the Lord is saying to me. 

But the clincher for me came a few years back when someone very close to me was contacted by one of those TV shows. It was one of the most highly acclaimed ones….and one that you’d surely know if I had the liberty to disclose it. This person’s life has been one of the most, if not THE most, dramatic conversions and transformations that I’ve seen in all my years. And after several phone interviews with my friend and then with me….they declined to do the story. Why?? Because, according to their representative, his conversion and transformation didn’t fit their grid of how it should happen. Tragic….in that this person’s life….and his story could have made the difference in hundreds, if not thousands who might’ve seen the TV show.

I left that situation discouraged and, to tell the truth,….about half ticked off. It was obvious to me that they were completely out of touch with what often happens out here in the real world. There’s no formula and there’s no set way for someone coming to the Lord. There’s millions of different scenarios and I wouldn’t argue the validity of any of them. “Any man who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved”.

The cynical part of me would say that if my friend would’ve just said, “I was at the end of my rope, on drugs and ready to commit suicide and I turned on the TV and the  “- – – – – – Show” was on and I fell down on my knees and cried out to God.”, that they would’ve done the show as quickly as possible.

So, don’t get me wrong….I think there might be a place for Christian TV….but it needs to be authentic, it needs to ‘not’ be about money, and it needs to be relevant for what the Lord is saying and doing in our generation.

Check These Out:

Virtual Reality

Quit Telling Me What The Problem Is!!

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

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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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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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