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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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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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Weapons of Mass Construction

Weapons of mass destruction; It’s a term we hear pretty often these days. But it wasn’t too many years ago that the term was literally unknown to most of us. It’s interesting, however, that the first recorded mention of WMD’S was in 1937 by the Archbishop of Canterbury upon the bombardment of Guernica, Spain. Obviously, the bombing of Hiroshima would have fallen in the WMD category. And even more recently we’ve been reminded of the absence of the WMD’s that were supposed to be in Iraq. The Wikipedia definition goes like this: a nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological or other weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans or cause great damage to human-made structures.

You know what ‘destruction’ means, that’s easy; but here’s what ‘Construction’ means:  to build, to build up, to erect, put up, set up, raise, establish, assemble, manufacture, fabricate, create, to help, to make. In essence it’s the exact opposite of ‘destruction’. Construction is a very good word!

I had a thought; What if we were to identify, and then use our ‘Weapons of Mass Construction’ to bring about good in the world? We’d use these WMC’s to bring ‘life’ and significant good (as opposed to WMD’s) to a large number of humans. And, let’s not undershoot the runway,….I say let’s bring ‘life’ and significant good to the entire planet.

Here’s how I propose we do it; First we need to identify ‘weapons’ that would bring profound and lasting good to mankind. When I think of what those might be my mind immediately goes to my/our relationship with the Father. It’s an incredible revelation, understanding that He’s handpicked us as His own sons and daughters. And when we begin to understand it,….it changes virtually everything!

And the other weapon….well it’s the thing that is naturally produced out of our relationship with the Father. LOVE! As we’re exposed to His love we begin to love like He does,….unconditionally, and without demands or restrictions! It’s the most ‘life-giving’ and transformational thing that exists in all of creation! It gives life…and it transforms, not only with individuals and families, but also with cities and nations!

Engaging in relationship with the Father…..and loving like He does….we can change the world with these Weapons of Mass Construction!

You’ll probably like these, too:

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

“I Yub Ooo Too, Daddy”

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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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That One “Nut Job”!

It’s been a ‘phenomenon’, I guess you could call it, that’s been going on my entire life. I remember even when I was a kid it was happening with me, and I just keep on finding myself in the same scenario over and over again.

I’ve made this statement, or a variation of it, at least a hundred times down through the years. It went something like this: “I could go to Dallas Cowboy Stadium where there’s a hundred thousand people….and if there’s one ‘nut job’ there, ……he’ll find me!”. It’s a true story and it’s happened with me more often than you’d believe.

It was a few years ago, and after it’d just happened again, (don’t remember when or where but it did happen) that I made that same statement again. But this time it was different….I mean, really different! Immediately on making that statement, that ‘still small voice’ of the Lord spoke ever so clearly to my spirit saying, “I know, Andy….that’s a ‘gift’ I’ve given you!” I’m telling you it was a ‘gut-check’ of epic proportions! And as that thing captured my entire attention He followed it with, “I don’t trust those kind of people with just anyone!”. 

I don’t know if you can grasp the complete gravity of what the Lord said to me. But, for me, it was one of those, “stop you dead in your tracks”, kinds of things. In fact I can’t remember any other time in my life that His word to me was any clearer and life-altering than this one thing. It totally changed my entire perspective on that ‘phenomenon’, literally, in a moment of time! All of a sudden I saw ‘those people’ like the Father sees them….and it changed everything!

My heart was broken…..in a very good way, by how I’d viewed all those people down through the years before. And since that day I can’t even tell this story without being brought to tears.

So, they’re still coming, maybe with a greater frequency than ever before,….but everything has changed for me…..and in turn….maybe them, too!

I think you’ll like this one, too:

*Click on highlighted link

It’s  ‘Atmospheric’, …..There’s No Question About It!

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“I Ain’t No ‘Fortunate Son'”

John Fogerty, who in my opinion possesses the greatest rock and roll voice of all time (he actually does a pretty mean job singin’ country too, ‘click’ the highlighted link to watch some JF ‘country’), wrote that song in 1969. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it at #99 on the“500 Greatest Hits of All Time”.  ‘Click’ here to watch Creedence Clearwater Revival perform “Fortunate Son”You’ll still hear it played often on classic rock stations coast to coast. The song did ruffle the feathers of the establishment (‘click’, for why?) back in the day.

I like the song, and just about everything else Fogerty has done,….but I do take issue with the title, for you and I, in light of what the Father has done on our behalf! Of course John wasn’t singing anything about his/our relationship with the Lord…..but if he was….. he would’ve definitely changed the lyrics to, “I Am A Fortunate Son’!! It would be much more appropriate knowing what I now know!

The very word, ‘gospel’, means “Good News”….and right up there at the top of the list of good things we’ve been ‘given’ through Jesus, is the reality that God, the Creator of the Universe, has hand-picked you and I to be His own sons and daughters. We should stop and think about that one for a minute. If we ever get the real revelation of that……it’ll transform every single area of our lives. We’ll stop trying to ‘earn our keep’, so to speak….and start to live from what’s already been done for us. We’ll begin to understand the incredible ‘value’ that He has placed on us. And maybe….just maybe we’ll start to see ourselves like He sees us.

John Fogerty sang, “I Ain’t No Fortunate Son”, and I get it. But you and I…….well, we ARE Fortunate Sons (and Daughters, if you will)! God, the Father, picked us out as His very own! When we grasp IT, nothing will ever be the same!

“Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we might be called ‘sons’ of God”  1 John 3:1 KJV

*If you enjoyed this one…..I think you’ll like this one too: 

“Only ‘Daddy’ That’ll Walk the Line”

 

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