Don’t Look Before You Leap!

Totally goes against logic and reasoning, I know. But for those of us who are trying to follow the Lord by faith…it makes all kinds of sense. You see, we’ve been ‘given’ an incredible quality of faith. We’re apt to never find that out if we’re always looking before we leap. And even though our quality of faith is all that it’ll ever need to be, if we stop to take a long, investigative look at every single thing…..I fear we’ll talk ourselves out of a lot of things that the Father wants to do with,….and through, us!

What if Noah would’ve ‘looked’ before he leaped?? Here’s a man building a boat longer than a football field……in a place where it’d never even rained before! It’d be a little awkward down at the ‘ol lumber yard ordering all those materials and trying to explain your project to everyone! It’d be easy to talk yourself out of that one, huh?! And what about Moses?? OK, you’re standing on the banks of the Red Sea with 3 1/2 million people or so……Pharoah’s army is closing in….and they ain’t happy…..and all you have is a ‘stick’!!? Lookin’ ain’t gonna work……leapin’ is!!

OK, if you’re going to make a major financial investment, build a new home or start a new business it does make sense to ‘look before you leap’. But if you’ve heard the Lord (or even ‘think’ you’ve heard Him) I wouldn’t spend much time ‘looking’ ……no matter how uncertain it might appear. And, if you’re not careful you might just talk yourself out of something the Lord wants to do with your help! I think it makes sense to go ahead and ‘leap’!!

Got’s not looking for people to ‘play it safe’.….there’s enough of them already out there! He’s looking for someone to believe Him at His Word and exercise the faith that they already have. When that happens…..His kingdom comes….right here on Earth just like it does in Heaven! The world is waiting for people like that…….and so is the Lord!!


If You See God “Wrongly”…….You’ll Never See Yourself “Rightly”!

There aren’t many discussions any more important than this one; Who is God? Big question, to say the least. And my fear is that God has been grossly ‘misrepresented’ in our world. Mainly by those who know ‘about’ Him…..but don’t really actually ‘know’ Him! It’s a huge problem if you ask me….and it needs to be fixed ASAP!…..not only for each of us as individuals….but for the whole world in general!

There are a hundred good reasons to connect with the Father relationally. It’s really what our lives should be all about. It’s the answer for everything that ‘s wrong. It’s the ‘cure for mankind’. When you ‘connect’ relationally with the Father you begin to find out “Who” He really is! But if we never do connect in that way we’ll always have a ‘secondhand’ perception of Him.

If you only see God as “Judge” you’ll always be somewhat ‘fearful’ of Him. You’ll always be mindful of your failures and all the things you’ve done to ‘let Him down’. And you’ll be scared about what He might say to you on that ‘final’ day! I have plenty of conversations with people who have made this their reality. They see themselves as not really ‘measuring up’. It’s a ‘wrong’ perception!! It’s not a little wrong, ……it’s a long way from the actual Truth! You see your self ‘wrongly’ ……because you are seeing God ‘wrongly’!

The only way we’ll ever see ourselves ‘rightly’ is when we start to see God for Who He really Is……and that is as a Father. The next step, then, is to begin to interact with Him at that level……as a son or a daughter. Now listen….it really does have to go beyond acknowledging Him as Father; it must be relational or we’ve totally missed the point. Don’t make it hard!! It’s the easiest thing there is for a child ………to naturally relate to his/her Dad. 

When you see God for Who He is, you’ll start to see yourself just like He sees you!

            You’ll see yourself ‘rightly’!!

            You’re gonna like what you see!

            I guarantee it!


A “You Can Do It” Atmosphere

Its a great place to be…..that’s anyplace where there’s a “You Can Do It” atmosphere! I’ve seen it a lot of times down through the years. I first saw it in our home growing up. My Mom and Dad did as perfect a job as could have been done for my brother Monty and myself. They believed in us and they taught us to believe in ourselves, too. ….And somehow I think it gave us a big ‘leg up’ in believing in other people as well. I have found that that one thing can be the ‘difference maker’ in the lives of other people……just to have someone who really believes in them.

I was so impressed a month ago when I went to the Beckham County Drug Court. (That’s when I came up with the title to this blog) It was amazing from my perspective. The Drug Court Team with two of ‘our own’, Lorna Pennington, Drug Court Coordinator and Eric Easter, part of the Drug Court Team and even Judge Michelle Roper had such a “You Can Do It’ atmosphere that the 50 or 60 people in Drug Court felt like they were going to make it. I left there that day feeling like they’re going to make it too! There’s just something about that ‘atmosphere’ that exudes, “you’re going to make it”!!!

It’s an atmosphere that we ought to work to create anywhere that we’re going to be. In fact, you may be the only one in your office or on your team, or in your restaurant that believes it….but if you’ll ‘represent’, it’ll be contagious and the productivity will automatically go up! Something just happens when you believe the best in people. Contrast that with an atmosphere where your best is ‘never good enough’ and see what you come up with. The difference will be remarkable.

The Bible says emphatically that we’re ‘overcomers’, and ‘more than conquerors’! If that ain’t a “You Can Do It’ atmosphere I’ve never seen one! When you cooperate with the Holy Spirit just about any kind of odds can be overturned. The results might be nothing short of miraculous!

Represent!! You Can Do It!

If you like this  blog post….you’ll surely like these too!

*(Click on highlighted link to read)

“It  Feels God to be Believed In!”

“Drug Court””


“I Keep A Close Watch On This Heart Of Mine”

 You probably recognize that line….it’s the first line in Johnny Cash’s song, “I Walk The Line”. (Click on the link to see Johnny sing it ‘LIVE’ in San Quentin) I found it really interesting that Johnny wrote that song in just 20 minutes, backstage, before a show in Gladewater, Texas, in 1956. The song went on to be a #1 hit….and remained #1 for 6 weeks. You’ll still hear “I Walk The Line” regularly on Classic Country stations nationwide……..60 years later!

But that first line has some profound ‘spiritual’ implications if you’ll think about it. Solomon, regarded by many as one of the wisest persons of all time, said it this way, “Guard your heart, for out of it flow the issues of life.”. There’s no doubt about it, one of the greatest challenges of our entire life, is to maintain a ‘pure heart’. Even Cash’s song eluded to that very fact. Everything we do and say, and every thing we ‘are’, for that matter, is directly governed by our heart. Not the body part that’s beating in your chest right now…..but the soul and spirit part of us. That part of us that makes us ‘who we are’!

Guarding our heart starts with a raw, unadulterated honesty with our own selves. That seems to be the hardest thing for some people….but it’s needed for all of us if we’re to get an accurate ‘read’ on our heart with our motives and intentions. You can be sure that everything imaginable in the world is working against us to pollute our heart. The Bible talks extensively about our ‘being conformed into the image of Jesus’. If you’ll stop and think about it….God doesn’t care if we look like Jesus; He doesn’t care if our voice sounds like His. But He does care that our heart responds to the events…..and people in our lives like He did. It’s our ‘heart’ that the Father is determined to conform to be like Jesus’.

Where do we start? We can only start by being honest with ourselves. Then we should ask the Holy Spirit to reveal our thoughts, attitudes and behavior that needs to be adjusted. Nothing to get frustrated about…it’s a lifelong endeavor. But we can ease the discomfort some by cooperating with the Lord. You can do it……so “Keep a Close Watch on That Heart of Yours!”


God Loves You, And There’s Nothing You Can Do About It!

There’s not a truer statement! But there are millions out there who, for some odd reason, think differently. And to compound the problem there’s the over religious, self-righteous, doctrinal police, church guy telling everyone that God’s mad at them. That’s the result when people read their Bible but have no actual relationship with the Father. That person has no understanding of the grace of God.

I was just talking to a friend a day or two ago that I hadn’t seen in 4 or 5 years. He said that he’d been in a hard place. Upon the death of his father several years ago he blamed God for it and turned his back on Him. His exact words were, “God, just leave me alone.” But what he found after a few years of being mad at God…….was that the Father just loved him more! And somehow He loved my friend back into relationship with Himself! ……..that’s the God that I know!

Have you been mad at God? I know a lot of people who have been mad at Him at one time or another. It’s understandable. Some of them have been mad at Him for years. And for the most part, their anger has resulted from something that they believed God mishandled. There’s everything from, “God, why did you let my mom die?” to “Why do you make my life like it is?”  What would you think if I told you that God can ‘take’ that….He really can. And, in some strange way, I think He understands. After all, ….He made us! But what’s amazing is that He never, ever lets that affect His love for you in an adverse way. Much to the contrary; I think it’s like my friend experienced….He’ll just end up loving you more. 

There’s nothing you can do to diminish the Father’s love for you…..not one degree! You can be mad at Him, you can cuss Him, you can even tell Him you hate Him and turn your back on Him. But He’ll still keep on loving you……and there’s nothing you can do about it!


“Opportunism” Is Not a Good Thing – But Have You Thought About It From This Perspective??

Opportunism is not a positive word; not a positive thing. Wikipedia’s definition: the conscious policy and practice of taking selfish advantage of circumstances – with little regard for principles, or with what the consequences are for others. Therefore, an opportunist is someone who takes advantage of someone else’s misfortune….and for their own gain. That’s not nice!

But I have another perspective to think about. In fact, we’ve been practicing it to some degree for 20+ years. An ‘opportunist’ sees someone going through a bad time and they lurk around to see how they can personally capitalize, benefit or profit from their calamity. But what if we were to take a more positive position?? What if, when we see someone going through a bad time, we were to reach out to those people and, rather than take advantage of them, do whatever we could do to help them in their dilemma?

At one time we actually had a person at Trinity on a part-time salary to do just that. He was very good at it too. His name was James Daniels, or JD as we all called him. He had an uncanny knack for noticing people who were going through trials in their lives. He could quickly discern what their actual needs were and did whatever he could, whenever he could, , with whatever resources we had, to help. (JD passed away a few years ago) Instead of just waiting around for people to come our way for help we were actually being aggressive in searching those people/families out. It seems like just something that the church should naturally do!

Of course, it was a huge ‘difference maker’ in the lives of the affected families.….but more than that it gave them a ‘good taste’ of church and even more important, the kingdom of God. Oh, and we’d supply the help that we could with absolutely no strings attached. We think that’s how Jesus would do it.

Imagine how different the world would look if we would all think that way!! And maybe, just maybe the world would change how they think about the church….and it’s people!

I say, “Let’s all be opportunists”.…..but from a kingdom perspective!


VIP #7 – Rick Hudson

I first met Rick Hudson in the office of the Sayre, Oklahoma City Manager, Jack McKennon. Jack had invited me down to meet the newly hired Prison Warden. Jack, being a part of out Trinity Family, knew that we’d been praying for several years about the new prison here. We had also been praying that the upper-level management personnel would be born-again believers. So to me it was a big deal to meet up with the new warden.

I remember vividly that meeting that day. After we did our introductions, handshakes, etc., I told Rick, ‘I’ve been praying for you for three years.” After I left the office that day I wished that I hadn’t said that to him. I thought….that’ll probably scare him off…..but it didn’t. It wasn’t long after Rick moved here that his entire family began to come to church with us. Rick’s family consisted of his wife, Jan; two daughters, Kealan and Taylor, and a son, Cooper.

Rick made it possible for us to take a team into the prison and pray over the entire facility. It’s a great story….but it’s for another time. Rick and I quickly became the best of friends. I had a Friday afternoon small group consisting of Jack, the City Manager, a retired executive banker of one of largest banks in Oklahoma, a young man who secured oil leases, a farmer……and Rick. Rick would often stay after our meetings and we’d have some great talks. I remember one day our meeting subject was prayer; Rick stayed after the meeting that day and said, “Andy, I want you to teach me how to pray.”. I encouraged him to start coming to our regular Wednesday morning prayer time, which he did. In fact, he hardly ever missed after that day. I remember telling him that this prayer thing is more “caught”, than “taught”. And he caught it! A month or two after that conversation I asked him to pray at one of our small group meetings and he prayed as if he’d been doing it for years……and it was ‘real’, not just a bunch of words.

We spent a lot of time together and I really got to know Rick. HIs job as Warden, of the largest prison in the state up to that point, was not ‘just a job’ to Rick. He put his whole heart and soul into it, always believing he could make a difference in the lives of the, better than 1500, inmates in the North Fork Correctional Facility. Some of the first inmates to arrive were from Wisconsin. And there was one of them who was infamous for causing trouble. He’d been locked up most of his adult life and had caused problems in every facility he’d been in, including inciting riots. We’d pray for this guy every week….because Rick believed that he was salvageable and ‘worth it’! He cared about the future of this lifelong troublemaker. 

In my whole life I’ve never seen anyone in a leadership position that received as much respect, honor and loyalty as Rick did from his employees. They all knew that he was deeply concerned about them, and he would often invite me to meet with him and someone who was going through a rough time. Simply put….his employees loved him and they knew that they could trust him.

Rick left us about 14 years ago as a result of a brain tumor and it left a huge ‘gap’ for all of us here…….me especially. It’s hard for me, even today, to write through the tears. I do take solace in the assurance that I’ll see him again soon. I just don’t ‘get it’ sometimes… those who have such a knack of making the world a better place have to go so soon. But again, I take comfort in knowing that the Father has it all well in hand.

Rick Hudson…..I wish you could have known him like I did. You’d totally agree that he was a VIP; and not just with me…..He was a VIP with every person who ever came in contact with him!

Rick & Kids

**If you enjoyed this post…’ll surely like this one too: “Party at the Prison”  (click on red print)

PS-There’s a lot of my regular blog readers that knew Rick. I know that your comments and feedback would be treasured by Jan, Kealan, Taylor and Coop.


Day #9 of the “Zombie Apocalypse”!!

False alarm!! I don’t watch those Zombie shows….doesn’t interest me in the least. So, why the blog title, you ask?? Because I look exactly like those Zombies right now. My eyes are nearly swelled shut, the whites are blood-red. They look like two pee holes in the snow!!  I’m flat-out scary lookin’!

Here’s the story: I went to bed Saturday night a week ago fine, woke up the next morning with my right eye swelled nearly shut. Wasn’t too painful, just itched a lot. My regular doc was out of town for the week so I went to my regular eye doctor. Prescribed some antibiotic drops and I started on them immediately, said to come back in a couple of days if I wasn’t better. I’ve had ‘pink-eye’ before and the antibiotic drops knocked it out nearly overnight. Not this time! Two days later….twice as bad. On top of the eye problem I had funerals to do on Wednesday and Thursday. Called to try to get worked in at my eye doctor…..he was gone and out of the office for the rest of the week!

By day 5 it was now in both eyes and getting worse. A lot more painful and not able to see very good at all. Talked to my doc on the phone and he prescribed an oral antibiotic. I figured that would do the trick. Two days of that….still getting worse! By then it was the weekend. Can’t get much done on the weekend. Couldn’t make church on Sunday, totally miserable all day. It felt like someone was gouging me in the eyes all day long. Well, as you know it was Labor Day weekend! Not seeing the Dr on Monday. I’m scheduled to see a couple of them this morning, day 10.

All this eye stuff got me to thinking about some of the teaching I’ve been doing lately. 1 Corinthians, chapter 12 talks a lot about the physical body, comparing it to the ‘spiritual body’, the church. All our ‘body parts’ are important, in fact there’s not one single of our body parts that aren’t extremely important….and needed. I’ve never had much problem with my eyes but when my eyes are adversely affected…it severely affects how my whole body functions. Now, think about it….you are also a ‘body part’ in the Body of Christ. If you’re ‘under the weather’, (like my eyes) the whole Body is affected in a negative way. Or, if you’re just not functioning (doing  your part) .….you’re affecting how the Body operates. It’s a win-win when you ‘get in your place’ and start to do your part. You win…..and the Body wins!

So, if you see me in the next couple of days and I look a little scary…..don’t run. It ain’t a Zombie!  It’s just me! Throw up a prayer if you think about it….and I hope to see you soon!  **I hope to SEE anything soon!! lol


Party at the Prison!

Seems like an unlikely place to have a party! But it can be done…and was done. I was invited out to the Northfork Correctional Facility a few days ago by Jim Taylor. The prison is located in my hometown, Sayre, Oklahoma. The Northfork Facility is about 15 years old and populated with inmates from California. Incidentally, the contract with California is expiring and they are now in the process of transporting inmates back to their home state.

Jim’s been faithfully going out the prison once or twice a week for, now over 15 years! There’s been a lot of ‘fruit’ because of his efforts there. There’s no telling how many inmates have come to know the Lord as a result of Jim’s diligence.

This day was a special day...and I’m grateful that Jim invited me to be a part. There were 5 guys that we were going to baptize! We went in about 8 am and gathered in the room with about 30 inmates where they have their church meetings. I was impressed, right off, by the positive atmosphere in the room. The attitude and demeanor of the guys there was pretty amazing. I’ve been in plenty of churches that didn’t have as good a feel as the room in that prison did!

After a few minutes of meeting the guys there Jim asked me to say a few words. I was reminded of how the Lord spoke to me  nearly 20 years ago before the prison was even there. When the city started talking about the possibility of a prison in Sayre….we started praying. We had no idea, at first, what the will of the Lord would be concerning a prison but we just kept praying anyway. The Lord spoke very prophetically to us about the prison….and how there would be a move of the Spirit there that would be documented by national news organizations. All that hasn’t been fulfilled as of yet….but it’s definitely in progress.

After the baptisms several of the guys got up and gave short testimonies. They were all sincere, heartfelt and ‘right on the money’ as far as Scriptural content. All in all it was a great time….and proof, again, that the Lord is not limited in who, how or where He does what He does!

It was definitely a ‘party at the prison’!!


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

Some time back I taught 150 some odd messages on the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I saw, by teaching ‘systematically’ (verse by verse), so many profound and life altering things in the process that I’d never seen before. It changed me….obviously for the better and I believe it changed the entire Trinity Family.

One of those things that became apparent was in the way that Jesus related to people; how He talked to them and how He loved them. But I began to notice a pattern with Jesus. And as important as the ‘words’ were that Jesus spoke I became convinced that more often than not….it wasn’t His words that made the difference in many of the stories recorded in the gospels. There was something in the atmosphere that was the difference-maker!

One good example was when Jesus came by Matthew, the tax-collector. Jesus was just walking by and said, “Follow Me”. And Matthew dropped everything and did just that. What would cause Matthew to do that? It seems like an easy question for us, being that we know Who Jesus was….but Matthew didn’t have the advantage of knowing that like you and I do. Jesus was already a controversial figure and the entire population was ‘polarized’ as a result of Who He was….and how He did what He did.

My opinion on this is that the atmosphere wherever Jesus went was 100% charged with “agape”, unconditional love.  It was an atmosphere void of any condemnation, whatsoever! Everybody hated and despised the tax collectors. Could it be that the reason Matthew ‘followed’ Jesus is that he felt, not only ‘accepted’ in that moment, but ‘valued’ as well (probably for the first time in his entire life!)?? I believe so! His encounter with Jesus changed his life forever……just like a similar encounter will change your life forever.

The ‘atmosphere’ around Jesus was ‘inviting’. It ‘drew’ people in and that’s why He always had a crowd of sinners and tax collectors around Him. That’s what agape does! That atmosphere around Jesus is exactly the atmosphere that’s being produced around you!! But it can only be produced by our deepening relationship with the Father. It’s nothing you can ‘work up’. But it’s a natural by-product of our connection with the Father.