Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 - A Year in Review

Fast Times

Hindsight is twenty-twenty they say, so let’s take a rather clear look at a year that’s gone by in a blur. The Brewer must be getting old because it seems like it ought to be March or April. The calendar pages are turning faster than I can keep up with. I don’t think it’s my high doses of caffeine, I really think the days are accelerated somehow.

In the fury of our race around the sun, more than a million people a week spun off into infinity and are no longer with us in body. The seventh year of the new millennium saw the last of some people we all recognize and lots of people we never had the privledge of knowing.

A Year of Leaving

Dan Fogelberg and Ike Turner are two fairly famous musicians that passed away. I doubt if Tina will miss Ike but I will definitely miss Dan. Evel Knievel jumped into eternity and Don Ho sang “Tiny Bubbles” for the last time in Hawaii. Anna Nicole Smith took her reality show to the other side and we all said farewell to Jerry Falwell. 2007 was an interesting year.

A Year of Living

2007 didn’t kill everybody. Edna Parker lived to be 114 years old and holds the distinction of being the oldest living person in the world as of Aug. 13. Edna is a retired teacher who saw the world truly change during her extra-extended time. Her husband, Earl, died way back in 1938 and she never remarried. Edna is the oldest of the 74 known supercentenarians (people older than 110 years old) in the world and the Brewer tips his coffee cup to her. You go girl!

A Year of Craziness

Other notable events include that Wile Chavez lost his election in Venezuela, more than 1500 people lost their homes in California wild fires. Britney Lost her mind and “Lost” was in season three.

Gas prices hit the roof, Barry Bonds hit his 756th homerun and Bishop Weeks hit his wife, Juanita Bynum in a hotel parking lot.

In 2007 The Cowboys rocked the house while the housing market hit the rocks.

Michael Vick was kicked out of the Doghouse and into the Big House for a sentence of 23 months for dog fighting.

A Year of Disgrace

It seems like there were several disgraced high profiles including Marion Jones loosing her Olympic medals, which I was really sad about. Ted Haggard fell out of the pulpit and onto the national “gaydar” after vehemently protesting all things homosexual. God help high profile preachers to remain vertical and with their wives!

Then there was Senator Larry Craig getting caught trying to pick up a fling in the men’s bathroom of an airport. Nothing says class like an adulterous, homosexual escapade in a public toilet. Thanks for being such a great leader and example, Senator.

A Year of Stepping, Passing and Heroes

Bob Barker Stepped down as the host of the price is right and handed Drew Carey a steady paycheck. OJ Simpson stepped into trouble one more time and celebrities stepped into a dance off.

Toys with lead were passed back to china while Marie Osmond passed out all together on national television. It’s worth noting that my son Benjamin passed his report cards for the first time ever. You Rock, Ben!

While heroes were avoiding bombs and tracking down terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, America was watching Heroes on NBC. Its amazing how big of a priority entertainment is when so much is on the line.

The Wind Up

For me personally it was another adventurous year and anything but boring. I married some friends and buried a few others. I got my food bank warehouse built and really feel like we made a difference this year. I spent several months on mission’s trips and recorded a live album with my band. I wrote another book, Numbers That Preach that should be out in January. My kids are happy and doing well. My wife is still the most amazing woman on the planet. 2007 was a really good year for me.

No matter where you are at or whatever you are doing, I pray that you know the love of God more than ever before. I pray that you grow in happiness, thankfulness and just flat out prosper in the New Year. Blessings on you, Texans and thanks for sipping with me.

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 1:2

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Learning Happiness from "the Dumps."

About ten years ago I made my first trip to the border and across into the trash dumps of Matamoras. It was a lot like going to the moon for me. Anytime you get out of your box you are likely to hear God speak to your heart in a profound way. It tends to be dangerous territory because when you really hook up with the heart of God, you tend to get changed. I have discovered Jesus never leaves me the same way He finds me.

I had seen things on TV. I had an idea of what to expect, but I was completely unprepared for the effect it would have on me personally. I went to Mexico and came back completely different. The impact of those beautiful people in that terrible place was so strong that in some ways it defines me today. A lot of the ways I think and deal with life’s issues, the Lord taught me from a trash-dump pulpit. I still go back there four or five time a year. It’s something like another semester in Brewer’s theological seminary.

Planes and Trains

It’s not the traveling part that changed me. Yes I’m a gringo, but hardly a greenhorn. I’ve been to India twice, Uganda four times, all over Central America and even made an illegal missionary trip to Cuba. The trips we take tend to be rugged, raw and off the beaten path. Always on the bad part of town.

Still traveling has its perks. I’ve prayed at the wall in Jerusalem, suffered for Jesus from hammocks on the Caribbean and had the high honor of addressing the King in his actual palace at Kampala. I have had just as great an honor in hugging leprosy victims at a colony in Asia. It’s been awesome.

I’ve been so sick in Nicaragua that the locals put me in a 50-gallon oil drum full of water to cool my fever down. I’ve been so pampered I’ve eaten steak from first class on Singapore Airlines with a ticket I didn’t even pay for.

I’ve seen little kids in East Africa playing with a deadly black mamba snake and two men fight to the death with machetes for money in Cuba. I have actually witnessed Muslim rebels coming into Western Uganda from Congo and seen the village after they got through with it. I’ve also seen people have so much mercy and compassion it defies explanation.

My son and I were robbed in a taxi in Bombay. I have protested anti-American protestors in downtown London and dawned a kilt in Scotland. When my wife and I were offered marijuana in Jamaica, I said, “No thanks brother, we are Christians.” The drug dealer smiled, gave me a big hug and said, “Yo mon, I am too!” He promised me the “weed of wisdom” would help me receive a higher revelation.

That’s just scratching the surface so when I say the Matamoras dump had a profound effect on me its not because I don’t get out much. In fact, I have been back to the dumps nearly sixty times since then, taken hundreds of people with me and nearly half a million pounds of food. It affects me because I want it to. Matamoras makes my priorities rightly align. It makes me realize how privileged I really am.

A Higher Education

Last week, we took 2,200 backpacks and tote bags stuffed full of toys to the kids in Brownsville (TX), Matamoras (Mexico) and yes, even to the city dump. The advantage of loving on kids and giving things away is one of the greatest gifts God has personally given me. My wife and I not only take a bunch of crazy people from the church down there but we always take our kids with us too. The impact it has made on them has been just as incredible.

This Christmas we will be in our little house on our little spot in Johnson County, Texas. We will have just come back from another experience in the trash dump of a major Mexican city. We will know we are blessed. We will know life is special and we will know that God’s goodness is overwhelming.

We won’t have an exuberant amount of gifts to give each other because we spent it all on our trip. But what we will have is happiness and appreciation. Sometimes happiness is wanting what you already have. I learned that in the dump.

Merry Christmas friends and may you be blessed with a Christmas of wanting what you already have.

Psalms 63:5 (NLV)
"You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Gift That Keeps On Giving!

I write this sip of flavored wisdom on my birthday. I know its later than December 6th when you read this but its takes the Brewer a little more than a week to grind his column, but please feel free to send gifts.

December 6th is not only known for the glorious day God blessed the world with my 3 pounds of splendor (my how I’ve grown since then) but it is also famous for being known as the day America got drunk. About 30 years before I was born, prohibition ended on December 5th and most of America went to have a legal drink on the next day. I think God has a big sense of humor about a lot things and having me born on that day is somehow poetic. I have probably driven several people to drinking. Sorry, but still feel free to send gifts.

Kill the Grinch

The whole world is about to celebrate the birthday of the greatest troublemaker and peace giver ever seen. Christmas might have an X in the name of your holiday but you probably are still going to give or get a gift or two. The whole gift-giving thing goes back to the original scene. Wise men from the east of Israel came to Bethlehem with three kinds of gifts that would bank role Mary and Joseph on their exiled trip to Egypt.

If you look at those three gifts in the book of Matthew, we discover an important, yet often-overlooked, theological fact; in this account, there is no mention of wrapping paper.

If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said, "And lo, the gifts were encompassed about with 7 square cubits of paper. The paper was covered within and without with pictures of Frosty, a man of snow.

Joseph purposed in his heart to cast the paper into the barrel of refuse, but Mary saith unto him, ‘Cease man. Thou shalt not. For Mary had purposed in heart that the paper should be set-aside for future generations, and Joseph didst roll his eyeballs at the wonder of his wife. It came to pass that the babe was more interested in the paper than the frankincense.”

…But these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very first Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped. This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics: 1. They were wise. 2. They were men not women.

Men are not big gift wrappers. Men do not understand the point of putting paper on a gift just so somebody else can tear it off. You can tell when I have wrapped a gift because it’s either in a hefty bag with a bow on it or it looks like a giant spitball.

For some reason, I can never completely wrap a gift. I can take a gift the size of a deck of cards and put it the exact center of a section of wrapping paper the size of a rodeo arena but when I am done folding and taping, you can still see a piece of the gift poking out.

On the other hand, if you give my wife a 12-inch square of wrapping paper, she can wrap a C-130 cargo plane. My stepmother, like many women, actually likes wrapping things. If she gives you a gift that requires batteries, she wraps the batteries separately, which to me is bordering on mental illness.

Roll Your Own

The editors of Woman's Day magazine recently ran an item on how to make your own wrapping paper by printing a design on it with an apple sliced in half horizontally and dipped in a mixture of food coloring and liquid starch. Those people are smoking crack and need to get a job!

Remember that the important thing is not what you give, or even how you wrap it. The important thing, during this very special time of year, is that you save the receipt. Because most of us knucklehead men don’t have since when it comes to buying gifts anyway.

I find that Jesus Christ, who the Bible calls the unspeakable gift, does tend to come gift-wrapped. Part of the journey of Christianity is about discovery and revelation. Jesus Christ is not the guy that lives in the building with a big steeple on it, take that wrapper off and you discover He’s the God that lives with you in your living room even when its messy. He loves it when we unwrap him from religion and our pain and see him for who he really is. Yes wise men and girls still seek him and yes, incredibly blessed people still receive Him for the gift He really is.

Unwrapping Jesus as a gift is not a one-time thing. God’s goodness towards us is ongoing and never ending. It’s a progressive journey into an inheritance that is so awesome it will take an eternity for us to unwrap it. Keep unwrapping guys, and see Him this season in a way you’ve seen him before.

"Thanks be unto God for his UNSPEAKABLE gift.''--II Cor. 9:15

Friday, November 30, 2007

Enter The Dragon

The year was 1975 and the Brewer was a nine year old with a heavy Texas accent and a mind full of mush. My folks took me to the Seminary South movie theater in Ft. Worth to see a film that would have a profound effect on our culture, our generation and yes, even me.

JAWS is not a movie about deep human insight and it doesn’t have any kind of profound philosophical message, yet there probably is not another film that made a bigger impact on any one society.

Thirty-two years later, the impact is just as effective as it was back then. It doesn’t matter if you are in fresh or salt water, that famous John Williams sound track starts to play in your head. We no longer feel safe in the water.

While the fear may be very real, the threat is really not. There are over 10,000 miles of American coastline. Millions of people swim in those waters and every year there are fewer than twelve shark attacks. Most of those are provoked and usually only one or two are fatal. None of that matters though when you are the guy in the water and the JAWS music is bouncing between your ears.

The odds of you being eaten by a shark in American water are astronomical. I tell myself this every time I swim in the ocean, because I’m convinced I’m going to hit the shark lotto.

While all of us worry about sharks, we very seldom worry about things like lighting strikes. I think the threat is very real when it comes to lighting. In 1985 alone there were 600 people killed in America by lightning and over the past 100 years there have been over 24,000 people lit up and sent to eternity with a thunderclap. Those are just the people we know of.

Attacks by grizzly bears are relatively rare and sporadic. Yet I’m scared of a big ol’ bear getting me when I’m in a national park. A total of 162 bear-inflicted injuries were reported from 1900 through 1985 in Canadian and American national parks. The truth is there were only 19 human deaths from grizzly attacks documented in the national parks in North America and an additional 22 deaths in Alaska outside the parks.

In my mind, there must have been thousands killed by grizzlies over the past century but it’s just not true. In the history of the United States there have only been 20 reports of death by black bears and only 13 by mountain lions.

For each person killed by a mountain lion in the past 100 years, 300 people have died from bee stings. I’m not scared of bees, but when I’m in Big Bend National Park I am thinking about mountain lions. Yet the truth is that for each person killed by a mountain lion in the past 100 years, 750 people have died when their cars collided with a deer. That’s not something I fret over. For each person killed by a mountain lion in the past 100 years, 1,100 people have been killed in hunting accidents.

I could go on and on but the bottom line is that a lot of our fears are really not warranted at all. In fact a lot of the mental battles we fight are over things that are not even existent. We tend to exhaust ourselves on fantasized battlefields of endless “what if” rabbit trails.

So much of the strife in our very limited brain space is over things that are not even actually going on.

I call these imagined threats, “Dragons”. A lot of dragons I have fought have not been battles over what people actually thought about me, but were battles over what I thought people thought about me. I’ve exhausted myself on things not even real.

Biblically, the devil comes in the symbolic form of a serpent trying to deceive us, and a roaring lion bringing condemning accusations against us. By far though, the scariest form of the devil from hell is that of the dragon. The beast that is mentioned thirteen times in the New Testament shows up in our lives as an overwhelming threat that wants to chew us up and spit us out. The thing about dragons….they are not real.

Just like the John Williams score playing when you go swimming in the river. Just because fear and strife are real, does not mean the threat is real. Knowing the truth makes you a dragon slayer. I refuse to waste my time and energy on battles that don’t exist and in doing so I am better equipped to win the real thing.

John 8:32
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tis’ the Season to Gain Pant Sizes

The Brewer has always been a bit on the plump side. When I graduated High School back in 1985, I weighed 230 pounds. About 15 years later I weighed about 340. The height of my obese-related depression came when I spent big money for a digital scale and literally cracked the LCD when I stepped on it.

I have never really considered myself too fat until recently. I just figured I was about four feet too short. Stupid cigarettes stunted my growth before God delivered me from Marlboro Country.

It wasn’t until the bad dreams started that I really wanted to loose weight. There’s the one dream I got so fat they projected movies on the backside of my white pants. There’s the other where the Post Office gave me my own zip code. Oh, it was terrible.

I do a lot of public speaking outside of my usual pulpit for Christian and non-Christian events. Usually, it’s people who have read the column or one of my books. There is typically an awkward moment where the invitee tries to hide his or her look of disappointment over my face being made for radio. They all get over it.

The complete pinnacle of my fatness and what gives me my own wing in the fat peoples hall of shame, came last January. I sing and play guitar in a Christian southern rock band called Joshua Rising. ( Our manager came over from England to introduce us to a famous music mogul and organizer of the biggest Christian music venue west of the Mississippi.

We flew out to San Jose California and met him at a restaurant on Monterey Bay. The gentlemen did agree to set us up with the three biggest agencies in the United States but he added, “Your fat, and fat people are not marketable.” I began to choke on my scallop.

“You think so?” I asked sheepishly. “Do I really have to look like I am 16 and weigh 140 pounds?” He put his fork down, scanned my silhouette and said, “Frankly, if I paid money to see you, I would want my money back.”

Well it’s a good thing I’m saved because I instantly had visions of throwing him to the seals.

I have had some temporary success in dieting and diet plans from time to time but not any real long-term solutions. I weigh about 290 today and am on the downward turn once again.

I say all of that to say this. If you struggle in your weight or really with any long-term issue, I recommend hope in the Lord. When you’re a Christian, it just makes sense to hope for better things in any part of your life. I would love to wake up tomorrow and be miraculously thin but odds are its probably going to require God-given discipline and character to walk in that kind of a miracle.

That’s the thing about true victorious living. Either your character gets you to the upgrade you are looking for, or it keeps you there once you’ve arrived. We are all looking for some kind of spiritual lottery to hit big for all of us but I believe God is looking for us not to loose what he wants to gives us.

So none of us get a “get-out-of-jail-free” card when it comes to having the character and discipline required for that next level. God help us all to get up from the table and drive past the red neon light at Krispy Kreme.

“What is the use (profit), my brethren, for anyone to profess to have faith if he has no [good] works [to show for it]? Can [such] faith save [his soul]?” James 2:14 (Amplified Bible)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hold Your Nose!

The smell of Coffee in the morning puts the Brewer in a good mood. I love the smell of coffee. I like the smell of lots of things. Leather, the Sunday pork roast, a brand new car.

Smell is a big deal. It’s the only sense you have that extends into your brain directly. It’s a key component to our moods, memory and appetite. Your nose is a truly remarkable structure. When a nose functions the right way, it can help us detect as many as 2,000 different scents. It also conditions the air we breathe. We inhale about 17,000 times a day, moving some 300 cubic feet of air through our nostrils every 24 hours.

That’s a lot of nose business. That snout of yours has to clean, humidify and in a fraction of a second, warm or cool the air you breathe to match your body temperature.

A scent, fragrance, or aroma also have a powerful effect on our emotions that help transform the way we feel. Specific smells suppress appetite, reduce stress, revitalize and energize, even promote physical attractiveness. I know I certainly become much better looking when I throw on some Old Spice.

The thing about smell is that it can do the opposite as well. A bad smell can put you in a bad mood or flat wear you out.

King James
You might know the name King James because of the famous English translation of the Bible. What you might not know is that he was a character that didn’t care to live a life reflecting the Bible he had commissioned. His very interesting life as King of England is something worth looking at. Though a promiscuous homosexual, he married Anne of Denmark and had seven children who survived beyond birth.

He himself survived the Guy Fawks gunpowder plot but none of those things are really what King James was famous for. King James suffered from a terrible fear called aquaphobia and he never took a single bath his entire life. Those around him suffered the smell of a King who refused to put water on his body. He was a presence to be reckoned with and when he came into a room every one knew it.

There’s nothing worse than somebody that reeks from a major malfunction of personal hygiene.

The Stink in Big Bend
Big Bend National Park is an amazing place and that area was the last frontier for the lower forty-eight.

When people in the rest of the United States were voting for Roosevelt and driving the Model T, Texans in the big bend were enduring Apache Indian raids on ranches and dealing with bandits robbing their banks.

Extremely eccentric places tend to attract eclectic characters. Bobcat Carter lived at the Permission Gap entrance to the National Park. He devoutly preached to all that, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness. A true gentleman should bathe at least once every seven years. I do!"

Bobcat Carter

People say you could smell him a mile away. He ate skunk stew, drank from a pregnant horses utter and poisoned prairie dog villages for a living. He would turn back flips along the road just to stop visitors for a chat.

After more than a hundred years old, he was taken to a hospital in Alpine. In terrible protest they removed his filthy rags and scrubbed his nasty body. “Don’t let them kill me!” He cried, as black water splashed across his elderly form.

Three days latter Bobcat Carter died, apparently the victim of pneumonia. The bath had actually killed him.

The Smell of Success
When you can’t see something or feel something, you can still identify it if you can smell it. The sense of smell is all about discernment. I think if there is anything Christianity needs today is a strong sense of spiritual discernment. A lot of things feel right and look right but you can just tell there not because of your spiritual “knower”. The ability to be able to identify what is God and what is not. What is life and what’s not something that brings life? Furthermore the people around us should be able to sense something different about Christians. We ought to be so full of life that people around us can smell it on us.

The Christian church is metaphorically called the body of Christ. This body is really attractive when we are properly joined with Christ the head. I think one of the reasons why Christianity is so unattractive to so many people is because too many of us are bodies that have become unattached to Christ as our head. After it’s all said and done, a headless body is good for nothing but lying around and stinking up the place.

Philippians 4:18b
"…the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God."

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Will To Live

Maxine’s Madness
Have you seen the cartoon character Maxine? She’s the Hallmark cartoon caricature of a cranky old lady that holds a coffee cup proclaiming, “I love my bad attitude.” She suffers hot flashes and lives on Crabby Lane in a little trailer with pink flamingos. She always wears bunny slippers, a bathrobe and a pair of sunglasses.

My grandmother collects Maxine paraphernalia. Like many of her peers, Nana believes Maxine to be her personal prophet and irritable voice of one crying out in the wilderness.

Maxine answers the phone by saying things like, “I’m busy right now. Can I ignore you later?” She lays on her worn out couch as she says, "If each day is a gift, I'd like to know where to return Mondays." She has a website for you to send complaints. Its

There’s no end to Maxine’s musings and complaints. She prides herself in telling it like it is and as she sees it. Just recently I got a funny e-mail that stated Maxine’s living will. A living will is the instructions you leave in the event you are totally incapacitated. Here’s what she said….

“I, MAXINE , being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive
indefinitely by artificial means. Under no circumstances should my fate be put
in the hands of pinhead politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if
their lives depended on it, or lawyers/ doctors interested in simply running up
the bills. If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to ask for at least
one of the following:

A Glass of wine. Chocolate. Chicken fried
steak and cream gravy. Chocolate. Mexican food. French fries. Chocolate. Pizza.
Chocolate. Ice cream. A cup of tea or coffee. Chocolate. Sex, and finally

It should be presumed that I won't ever get better.
When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my appointed person and
attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes, let the "fat lady
sing” . . .and call it a day!”

Life and the Pursuit Of
Lots of people have pulled the plug on their dreams and settled down into a life of apathy.
The will to live is not just about wanting to survive. There are people all around us in a healthy body who don’t have the will to live past where they are.

The Brewer herby encourages you to be a dreamer, so sip on this.

Some Christians know the story about Lots wife and how her look back got her killed. But what most people don’t realize is it is just as deadly to stay where you are as it is to look back. Life has something better to offer you. Get up and get after it.

God does not make the distinction between sacred and secular. He is the God of “better” and “all” things. In Mark 9:23 Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

So it is absolutely ok with God for you to dream big dreams that don’t have anything to do with traditional church. It makes God just as happy when you accomplish a goal for your family, like an awesome vacation for instance, as it does when a guy like me builds a food bank warehouse to feed the poor.

Dream a big dream and do something cool. Move off of Crabby Lane and refuse to pull the plug on hoping for better things.

Psalms 37:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Loosing Control

When you write a commentary column, it is only fair that you get commentary from some of the people that read it. A lot of it is good, some of it is really bad and all of it is interesting.

Last week I spouted off on some of my Texas heritage. Since then I’ve gotten cards, letters and e-mails from other people saying the same thing. One letter says they had an ancestor that fought along side my ancestor, Henry Brewer at the battle of San Jacinto. Another wanted me to know they had an ancestor Micajah Autry who traveled to the Alamo with none other than Crockett himself.

Letter Rip
I also got a letter from a professional doctrinalist stating that he didn’t understand why I wasted valuable print space writing about anything other than the bible or “spiritual issues.” Let me say to you sir, phooey on you. Those of us that choose to be sane, wonder why you waste your valuable life trying to cram God into such a narrow box of churchdom.

Instead of trying to get the world to fit into church we should be taking Jesus Christ to the world. Furthermore, we shouldn’t just be preaching a message. We should be the message in all of those environments.

I am learning more and more to not separate the sacred and the secular but to just point out Jesus. I am more Kingdom of God motivated than I am traditional and more about transformation and hope than I am about education and church conformity.

If you have a God-given eye to see, you know the things going on around you ARE spiritual issues or have you not read Romans 1:20?

The Real Deal
Make no mistake about it; the Brewer is a Jesus Freak. I am the Christian the devil warned you about. I am highly caffeinated and dangerously obsessively in my belief that Christ is the way, the truth, and the Life. I have an open agenda to influence as many people as I can towards the hope that only comes through the person of Jesus.

It is just sad to me that most times it is easier to find the love of God outside the church than actually in it. I believe that these are the last days and the Lord stated to the last day’s church of Laodicea, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20)

How pathetic is it that Christ himself, by his own account, is standing outside of the church in these last days trying to get back in. Trying to sit down and eat with us like a family actually does. Trying to bring us all to the same table He sits at.

So that’s where I tend to see him and point him out. Outside, in the non-sacred world. Doing what He does, just like He did in his earthly ministry 2000 years ago.

A Piece of His Mind
A Kingdom mindset is one that says it is just as spiritually legitimate to be a Christian in the market place as it is to be on staff at a church. It is just as important to be a housewife or a bus driver, or work on an oil rig as it is to be a Pastor or an evangelist. Kingdom of God minded people know it is just as important to clean the toilet at the church, as it is to lead praise and worship. A Kingdom of God based lifestyle says its ok to be really good at something even if it has nothing to do with church whatsoever.

I am not against the pulpit or the church. I stand behind a pulpit in at least four church services every week to preach a message to good folks that want to advance and go forward in faith. But someone who is really seeking after God knows that some of the most powerful sermons preached to us may come from our situations in life and not from behind a pulpit. That’s why I “waste” valuable print space referring to secular mainstream and historical events. So people can learn to see God for themselves in their everyday lives.

Now that takes away control from those of us who are Pastors. But for those of us Pastors that don’t actually want to control anybody, its ok.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

On Coffee and Commitment

So here I sit in the local Starbucks listening to the currant sounds of coffee playing though the speakers. I casually sip on a cup of Pumpkin Spice Latte while downing my second Americano with soy and a Splenda. This is America’s Crack house.

As I write notes, I glance around at my fellow java junkies. Like so many other Americans, the Brewer needs his daily fix to define the day. We also need to chase away the threatening menace of the non-caffeinated migraine. Most don’t talk about it but my friends call it “the claw.” For those of us who stay highly caffeinated, we know that the beast must be fed. If not, terrible retribution will be taken upon us like an invisible alien wrapping itself around our throbbing heads.

The Daily Grind
My name really is Brewer and besides being fated to live up to my troublemaking name it is part of my DNA to consume large amounts of percolated pleasure. McDonalds should offer some kind of a “McCoffee” sandwich for guys like me. I imagine going to get a lap band and then surgically implanting a shunt to send coffee directly into my blood stream. I can invasion moving to Costa Rica and growing my own beans off the side of erupting mount Arenal. Oh, the things I will go through for just one serene bean. What else can I tell you; I love to drink coffee.

I love to love things. I do not want to be over compulsive but I like to play with the idea of it. There have been days when I've had too much and it caused me to be over stimulated and under motivated all at the same time. That’s not good. But I do love-to-love things and not just coffee. To me it’s kind of a loyalty thing. I’m big into loyalty. I love allegiance, commitment and sold out devotion. These are qualities and vices in people that really get my attention.

Holy Grounds
As a pastor I see how messed up the whole ecclesiastical system can be and from a closer view than most. I love the church and when I say the church I mean the body of Christ. People of faith who really love Jesus and also love other people. But oh my goodness how I hate a bunch of the religious junk that we tend to operate in and pass off as no big deal. I believe Jesus Christ is totally anti-religion. He was 2000 years ago, and He still is today.

A lot of religious people will show you their degree and spout off on their “calling.” They will boast on their talents and their qualifications about ministry. They look under their glasses at us lesser people in dignified snootiness on how blessed the rest of us are to have them contribute to the body of Christ gene pool.

I really don’t think Jesus gives a rip about our talents or degrees. I think he qualifies people that are faithful; God loves people that are selflessly devoted. I don’t think He cares about who’s got the coolest collar, the closest parking space, the biggest hair or waves smoke on a rope. I do think He is looking to use people that will be committed. Even messed up people. I think God loves faithfulness and loyalty. I really do. I also think He gets tired of our excuses for why so many of us run off the reservation. We run off morally, spiritually, ethically and just plain run off sometimes.
(See proverbs 27:8)

So here I sit, a highly caffeinated Christian. Musing on things that matter. Hoping I am on the same page as the biblical author. Believing that God thinks I’m funny and is crazy in love with me. Standing on the fact that it is by grace we are saved and not of works lest any man should boast. And knowing for sure that a little bit of Jesus makes up for a whole lot of stupid.

I also pen this down as I spill a little more latte on my stained white shirt. Faithfulness loyalty, commitment and devotion matter. If nobody else sees it, God sees it. Like an animal on the endangered species list, solid committed Christians are getting harder and harder to find. I encourage you in the lord, to keep your self-committed. Even if it is only for an audience of one.

“Most men will proclaim every one of his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” Proverbs 20:6

Monday, October 22, 2007

Decisive Battles

Saints at San Jacinto
The Brewer is a sixth-generation Texan and dang proud of it. I have an ancestor, Henry Brewer who actually fought along side Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto.

I was there, if only in microscopic form and really glad (for my sake) that Henry Brewer was with Houston, instead of Travis at the Alamo.

San Jacinto is the decisive battle that won Texas her independence. To wrap your head around what a big deal it really is, it’s important you read the inscription carved into the monument that stands on the battlefield today.

"Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here led to annexation and to the Mexican-American War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost one-third of the present area of the American Nation, nearly a million square miles of territory, changed sovereignty."

In other words, there is a reason why people in Ft worth, Salt Lake, and Los Angeles don’t have to live the lifestyle of our neighbors in Matamoras, Juarez and Tijuana. That reason is because of a handful of heroes, not even trained solders, who chose to oppose and defeat a dictator back in 1836.

The Fight Is On
Some battles are so strategically important that everything afterwards hinges upon the results of that single event. I wonder if those Texans knew how important that one single battle actually was. I wonder if you know how important it is that you win the battles you are fighting. Unseen spiritual battles in brutal mental and emotional arenas you are choosing to oppose.

There is a lot more on the line for what you think then what you might think.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Every Christian has to fight in order to hang on to and posses the land or to have victory with the territory God trusts us with. Our fight is first spiritual and most of that fight goes on between our ears.

God has given us weapons to fight with and they are “mighty in God”. Powerless in and of themselves, but in God they are mighty, powerful and able to bring those thoughts under control. They break down the mightiest stronghold. These weapons include the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17), prayer (Ephesians 6:18) and the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

One of the ways you use the Word of God as a weapon is to personalize it for you. It is no good as black ink on a white page but actually in your hand, it’s a sword that kicks mental butt!

Declare What the Word Says About You While God Works on Your Problem

Personalize Jeremiah 29:11 by saying, "I know that God has plans to prosper me. I know that God has a hope and a future for me and I know those plans are good and I know that they will come to pass because God said they would."

Let it be said of you, the reason why those behind you live in victory is because you chose to oppose and defeat an oppressive enemy in the battle between your ears.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Miracles at Wedgwood

See You at the Pole” is a worldwide event that started in Burleson Texas. It’s a student led prayer that happens around the flagpole at high schools all over the world. A day for the Christian kids to show their solidarity for each other and their witness to the rest of the school.

A lot of churches have special youth rallies the night of SYATP to celebrate Jesus and reach out to other kids. That is what was going on September 15th, 1999 at the Wedgwood Baptist church.

Larry Gene Ashbrook, a forty-seven year old jobless man known for violent rages and conspiracy writings, busted into that service yelling and cursing anything to do with Jesus. He pointed his pistol at bewildered teenagers and began pulling the trigger. A ten-minute rampage followed that would leave seven dead and seven more shot before he sent a bullet through his own brain.

Getting the World’s Attention

The unthinkable had happened. For the next several weeks, this single event would dominate anything that had to do with the media, particularly local media.

House Majority Leader Dick Armey issued a statement saying he “reacted with shock and horror”. Calling it a tragic event in a "house of hope and love," Gov. George W. Bush, along with other officials, expressed shock and dismay. President Clinton called Pastor Al Meredith and spoke to him personally, while Vice-President Gore spoke to him on “Larry King Live. This event dominated the media.

But for all the media, there was a lot that was not reported by the talking heads. Other things happened in the midst of those shootings that were not tragic at all, but in fact, miraculous.

Miracles in the Madness

Just before Ashbrook walked into the room, he shot out some windows right beside the children’s playground. Every children’s and preschool class was running late that night so nobody had made it to the playground yet.

In the midst of the shooting, Ashbrook lit a pipe bomb and threw it into the crowd of kids. Miraculously the bottom fell off and it didn’t blow up the way it was supposed to, sparing the lives of many.

As the killer walked back and forth through the room shouting blasphemous obscenities and shooting at teenagers, a mother was desperately trying to force her mentally disabled daughter onto the floor. There was no way to calm her down and she made an easy target for the coward with the gun. Mary Beth Talley, a 17 year old who had ran into the room to warn everyone of the shooter, saw the struggle and lay on top of the handicapped girl as Ashbrook went to kill her. Mary Beth heard the shot and then she felt a sharp sting as a bullet entered into her back.

Unlike other kids in the room, Mary Beth had scoliosis. This condition, a curse to so many, was in fact a blessing to this brave young lady. The curve in her spine directed the bullet away from her major organs and thus saved her life.

While most kids were wisely trying to protect themselves anyway they could, one young man with a troubled past and a biblical name sat up straight and bowed in prayer. “Lord, please let this end!” he prayed as bullets flew around him.

Jeremiah Neitz heard the shots; saw the slaughter, prayed the prayer, and then for some inexplicable reason, jumped to his feet and confronted Ashbrook. Not with his strong and muscular build, but with the love of God.

“Sir, what you need is Jesus Christ!” Jeremiah shouted as the gun was pointed at him.
“You can shoot me if you want,” but I know where I am going. I am going to Heaven. How about you, sir?”

As mad as it made Ashbrook, the love of God in Jeremiah’s voice shut the gunman down. He answered his question by sitting down in a pew, putting the pistol to his head and sending himself to eternity.

The people of that powerful church will tell you, “Yes, some of us have died because of our faith in Jesus.” They will also tell you that they see the hand of God in the midst of the attack that came against them. They will say things like this: Though he fired 100 bullets into a crowd of over 400, only 14 were hit. An off-duty paramedic happened to be in the room and stabilized victims. None of the adults that died had any children. All seven victims were passionate and bold Christians.

The memorial service was aired live all over the world on CNN, including countries like Saudi Arabia, that do not allow the preaching of the Gospel within its borders. Because of the powerful word of God given in that service, people heard the Gospel and received Jesus that would have never otherwise had Jesus presented to them.

For every bullet fired against Christianity, millions of steps have been taken that move the cause of Christ forward. For every life lost through the shootings, thousands have been saved through the courage and testimony shown from the lives of those shot at. A lot more could be said, but I’ll finish by quoting Paul as recorded in Romans 1:8....

"I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you,
because your faith is being reported all over the world.”

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Lego My Ego

On Sunday June 25th, 1876 in a remote region of what is now Montana, General George Armstrong Custer looked down upon a large village of Sioux Indians. A few days earlier when he left Fort Lincoln he was advised to take a gatling gun and 2 cannons with him to engage the Indians. But he was General Custer, and this was the elite 7th Calvary.

So at 3:05pm on a hot Sunday afternoon, Custer and his elite looked down on a large Indian village and what appeared to be very few men. What he didn’t realize is that the 100 or so warriors of this village had joined an alliance of thousands led by none other then Crazy Horse himself. They were waiting just over the next ridge.

On the way to the battlefield his trusted Indian scouts came back with the report. The few hundred warriors he saw were actually thousands he didn’t see. Custer undaunted simply replied, “HOGWASH.”

Custer pointed his sword towards the village and said, “We caught them napping boys. Attack!”

Less than 2 hours later a terrified and badly wounded remnant of 42 soldiers took a defensive posture to try fight off the relentless attack. Using dead horses as breast works a few watch helplessly as their fellow soldiers were killed and mutilated by their hated Indian enemy. In the midst of blood, brains, gun smoke and war hoops, the 42 (including Custer), were stripped naked and mutilated without mercy at a place forever known as “Little Big Horn.”

Nobody can understand the terror that these last few survivors felt. All because of the EGO of one man.

Webster defines the word ego as “an exaggerated sense of self-importance.” The Bible defines it as a recipe for certain destruction. Isaiah 5:21 says, “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”

The Bible is full of people with unbelievable egos. Pharaoh for example had people full time that did nothing but made sure that no one looked at him in the face. If they found anyone looking at him they would burn their eyes out with red-hot pokers.

Imagine then the audacity as God sent a nobody by the name of Moses to stand in Pharaoh’s courtroom, point his finger in Pharaoh’s face and say, “God says, ‘Let my people Go!”

Our lives are full of people with unbelievable egos. Since we can’t change the hearts of anybody around us, we might do well to just work on our own. Walking humbly is absolutely essential to longevity.

Have you noticed that lazy people have great egos? King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 26:16 “The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.”

Ego is all about self-preservation. Ego and faith do not mix. You can’t be full of ego and have a heart for other people. You can’t be really happy and selfish at the same time. So the next time an exaggerated sense of self-importance comes flying out of your toaster, make yourself let go of that ego.

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thoughts on "The Book."

In 1986 I completely dedicated my life to Christ. I was so blown away that God would want anything to do with a guy like me that I signed up for the full ride. I dedicated my life’s work to furthering the Gospel, advancing the Kingdom and generally trying to be useful somehow. Consequently, I became a Bible thumper.

Now I wasn’t always like that. There was a day when the Bible looked more like a Chinese tech manual than anything actually worth reading. Stephen King had taught me how to read giant novels. I’ve been blessed with a good reading aptitude so I didn’t think reading the bible would be any problem. It wasn’t that easy.

Carrying My Security Bible
Volunteering for an outreach ministry in Dallas, a friend suggested that reading the Bible could “save my life”. I had no idea what he was talking about. Less than a week later I went to a James Roberson convention in downtown Dallas and survived an attempted robbery in the parking lot by slamming my King James up side the head of the perpetrator.
I was only 19. Sitting in the nosebleed section of the Dallas Convention Center I looked at my bible and thought, “This thing really CAN save your life”.

I started taking it with me everywhere I went. I struggled through the “thee’s” and “thou’s”. I learned to focus on the red letters. I began to comb through the Commentary and Biblical history books. Slowly, the light began to come on.

It’s not the black ink on the white pages. Its not the actual book itself but rather what the book testifies of. I am amazed at what happens when “the book” gets into the hands of the average Joe.

This book combined with the power of the Holy Spirit, changes lives, families, lifestyles, society, nations and entire generations.

There Goes The Neighborhood
The Bible transformed the entire world when the early Christians startled the pagan world of Rome by their unselfish love and caring for the poor, the sick and the hopeless. The Romans didn’t know what to do with this bunch, so they tried to snuff them out.

Despite the overwhelming wealth of the Roman Empire, Historians have not found one single example that these societies had a single hospital, housing for the poor, orphanage, or old folks home. There were not even universities for the masses. This great example of worldly civilization didn’t give a rip about the betterment of others until people with the book showed up.

The Egyptian empire, the Babylonian empire and the Syrian empire were the same way. Nations never had any of these things until the Bible got into the hands of common people.

The Greeks and the Spartans prided themselves on the being the “light of advancing wisdom and higher thought.” These same people threw infants off of cliffs for having birthmarks.

The idea of taking on the cause of the betterment of ordinary people didn’t show up until the idea of equality showed up. The value of life and the cause of the helpless are Biblical principles. The dark ages and the atrocities of that time didn’t end until the common European had access the Bible in his common language. Hundreds of thousands died during the 1500’s so the average Joe could get his hands on the book.

Say Uncle
One person that stood up for his faith and conscience during that terrible time was my ancestral Uncle, Robert Farrar. We recently discovered that his family was an important part of the modern Brewer bunch. He was a Bishop of St David’s and Protestant martyr that was burned at the stake in London in 1555. He wanted people to have access to what was written about in the book.

Ironically, somebody was quoting the Bible wile they set him on fire. I know that some of the meanest people on earth have thumped their bibles while living hate-filled lives. I also know this; people that study the Bible either allow it to change them and they become world changers, or they remain the same and use the Bible to somehow support their evil agenda.

Loving the Author
This tells me that the book is not enough. There have been and still are today, people that love that book but do not love the Lord the book is testifying of. There are people that love to study the track but do not care a bit about the foot that actually made the track.

The Bible is awesome because Jesus is awesome. As soon as we get away from that, we get into big trouble.

“I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given man. All the good from the Savior of the world, is communicated through the book.”
Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Leap Of Faith

When the sun finally came up it proved to be a beautiful Tuesday morning. Cool fall air and not a cloud in the sky. The morning commute to downtown Manhattan seemed a little more pleasant than usual. Jonathan Briley walked into the World Trade Center that fateful day looking up as always. I think about him.

The son of a Baptist Pastor, Jonathan grew up working on his daddy’s P.A. system. His interest in music and speaking eventually landed him a job at the famed restaurant Windows of the World as the sound engineer. Anytime there was a conference or a celebration, it was Jonathan’s job to set up and run the sound equipment.

On September 11th, 2001, the restaurant was holding a breakfast for 16 members of the Waters Financial Technology Congress, and 71 other guests. It was a day Jonathan had to be there early. About 20 minutes after he arrived, American Airlines flight 11 slammed into the North Tower just a few stories beneath him.

Eating in that same restaurant was Alayne Gentul, 44, a senior vice-president of the Fiduciary Trust and mother of two. As the room began to fill up with smoke she called her husband.

“Smoke is coming in from everywhere, Jack.” She labored to tell her husband. “Guys are breaking the windows.”

“Honey, go to the stairs and get out of there.”

“We can’t,” she responded, “it’s too hot in the stairs. Like an oven.”

Cameras and History
So many terrible things happened that day we will not forget. Some, we will want to.
As the estimated 1000 people trapped on floors 100 through 107 began trying to move away from the inferno, New Yorkers looked up with their hands over their mouths.

A photojournalist named Richard Drew, lived close to the towers. Richard was already no stranger to history. He had been one of only four photographers in the room when Bobby Kennedy was assassinated nearly forty years earlier.

At 9:41 am, 56 minutes after the ordeal had started; Richard pointed his I-lens upward and caught a man falling. He took 12 pictures of Jonathan Briley as he plunged 1300 feet to Church Street below.

The Falling Man
It’s believed that Jonathan is the famous “falling man”. The picture seen by millions throughout the world, of a person headed straight down completely vertical, almost casual.

His arms are by his side; his left leg is bent at the knee, and his white jacket billowing free against black pants. In the one famous picture he perfectly splits the towers. The north tower is to his left and the south tower to his right. Its an amazing photograph and one most of wish we hadn’t seen.

Jonathan was asthmatic and the toxic fumes forced him outside for almost an hour before he took flight. I think he thought it better to die flying then to die choking. In a place where every option had been taken away from him he somehow mustered the courage to step out of the heat and into the hands of God.

In one of many interviews, Jonathan's elder sister, Gwendolyn, says: “When I first looked at the picture... and I saw it was a man like him, tall and slim, I said, ‘If I didn't know any better, that could be Jonathan.’

When asked if his apparent jumping collided with their Christian theology she said something I think is quite brilliant. “Let me tell you how much Jonathan loved God. He trusted him so much that he jumped 105 stories expecting God to catch him.” To Gwendolyn there was victory for her brother even in this tragedy…. especially in this tragedy.

No matter what terrible thing we are facing today, it pales compared to what Jonathan faced. Whatever tough decisions, I hope we have the courage to trust God when nothing else makes since. Jonathan Briley and his sister Gwendolyn preach to me. They help me.

I believe the next time we see Jonathan; he won’t be falling at all…he’ll be risen. Now that’s a picture I want to see.

1 Corinthians 15:54
“So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Facing Your Torpedoes!

Old Salamander
During the War of 1812, a ship called the Essex sailed to South America, where the precocious David Glasgow Farragut took a captured British ship into Santiago, Chile. His ship was defeated and sank after a cannon blast. He didn’t much care for his ship going down but he sure loved the Navy. 49 years later at the start of the Civil War, Farragut was now a 60-year-old naval Captain living in Virginia. A Southerner by birth, Farragut nonetheless pledged his allegiance to the Union and was given command of a heavy fleet. His orders were to open the Mississippi by taking New Orleans, which he did, and was made the first Rear Admiral in U.S. Naval history. He ran his ships into terrible cannon fire, survived and became known as "Old Salamander." A naval term of endearment for the crusty Admiral.

Sixteen months later, he took the last Confederate stronghold on the Gulf of Mexico in the battle of Mobile Bay. Ready to end the battle, he charged the heavily guarded bay entrance even though it was loaded with mines, then known as torpedoes. When they spotted the deadly explosives, Farragut pointed his saber towards the enemy and cried, "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” The stuff of legends.

Heart Breakers
114 years later a Florida boy living in Los Angeles was trying to think of a good title for his latest recording project. It was not a good year for Tom Petty but things were about to get better. The pressure of the music business was getting to him. His Label ABC Records tried to sell his contract to MCA records without Tom and the Heartbreakers even knowing about it. He was angry at the whole system. He was defiant. He decided to go forward anyway, refusing to be victimized. The band pushed forward through every thing that threatened them and recorded a classic which he titled “Damn the Torpedoes!”

It was in that kind of mood; a mood that said, “things might blow up, but I’m going forward,” that Tom and fellow Heartbreaker Mike Campbell wrote a smash hit titled “Refugee.” It’s a song about refusing to lay in defeat and going full steam ahead.

“Somewhere, somehow somebody must have kicked you around someTell me why you wanna lay there and revel in your abandon.Listen, it don't make no difference to me. Everybody's got to fight to be freeYou see, you don't have to live like a refugee.”

Safe Havens
A refugee is somebody that doesn’t have a refuge, a sanctuary or a shelter. Refugees struggle to survive because they don’t have a place of protection.

Miraculous survivor stories tend to have something in common, a place of refuge.

A Japanese businessman survived the Hiroshima blast because he was working in a bank vault. An Indonesian woman survived 5 days at sea after the tsunami carried here away from her family. She did so by clutching a palm tree in the Indian Ocean and eating the fruit and bark of the tree she held on to. Don’t you just love a good survival story?
So does God.

God knows the importance of refuge. He doesn’t offer to build you one; He offers to be your refuge. In Psalms 57:1 David writes, “Be merciful to me oh God. For my soul trusts in you: And in the shadow of your wings I will make my refuge.”

Max Lucado, in his Thomas Nelson book, “Facing Your Giants” says it a lot better than I could. “Make God your refuge. Not your job, your spouse, your reputation, or your retirement account. Make God your refuge. Let Him, not Saul, encircle you. Let Him be the ceiling that breaks the beating sun, the walls that stop the wind, the foundation on which you stand”

Tom Petty says you don’t have to live like a refugee. Jesus says, “Come to me…”

Proverbs 18:10
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”

For encouragement or info, please email me at

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Big Head

Don’t you love being a fan of somebody? I’m a big fan of a lot of people, in lots of different fields, some of them living but most of them gone. Davey Crocket, Sam Houston, Tom Petty, Spurgeon, William Tyndale.

I recently had the chance to listen to a guy who I instantly became a fan of. He was somebody that told stories about himself, and one really stood out.

When Rick Green was elected for the Texas State Senate he was only 26 years old. Yes he was a Christian and he knew better, but pride soon became a problem. By his own account he admits that he got the Big Head so bad that very quickly he looked more like the Jack in the box clown than the man his wife had married.

He didn’t want people to know how young and naive he was so he asked his doctor friends to give him all of their scientific American magazines and medical books. He perfectly situated text books and law documents so that when you stepped into his office you had to notice those titles. He hoped that folks would think he was a really smart guy.

On one of his first days in his new district office, a man walked in and up to his desk. Rick immediately picked up the phone and started acting like he was having a conversation. “No, I’m sorry I’m all booked up!” he said as he winked at the guy standing in front of him. “I would love to meet with you but I’ve got appointments every day of the week. How about a week from next Thursday...yeah that’s fine….ok Ill see you then, thank you.”

Rick green hung up the phone, took a deep breath, like he was exhausted, and addressed his visitor. “Can I help you, sir?”

The man looked disgusted and said. “No, I’m just here to hook up that there telephone.”

Eating Korn
Rick told this story about himself and added, “God sure knows how to humble a guy.”

God deals with Rick Green the way he deals with me. I can’t get away with nothing.

This last week my wife and I read a book called “Save Me From Myself”. It was written by Brian “Head” Welch, who is the former guitarist for the screaming band Korn. I am not a big fan of Korn at all but this book rocked my world. It’s the story of total transformation that comes when somebody gives their life to Jesus Christ. It’s a story about what happens when somebody really humbles himself.

Brian’s whole life went from “what was in it for him’ to “what was in him for everybody else”. He left the destructive world of self indulgence for service and the love of God. His orphanage in India and his personal testimony are making a difference that is worth drinking a cup of coffee to.

Brother Head doesn’t have the big head any more. Brian would agree with Rick. God sure knows how to humble a guy.

Humility heals. Humility helps. Humility is compatible with an awesome God that wants to heal and help. So when you are in need of healing, help or a touch from God himself, the Brewer recommends a healthy dose of humble pie. Preferably before it gets crammed down our throats.

Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.”

Let me know your thoughts on this weeks “Brew” at

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Baseball and Bullet Proof Bibles

Americana. It’s a word related to our history and culture. When I think of Americana I tend to think of baseball, hotdogs and cowboy hats. So there I was, next to one of my teenagers, Luke, eating a hotdog and watching the Texas Rangers beat up on Kansas City.

We were sitting in the lower balcony on what is called “the homerun porch” and for a brief while I actually believed I could catch a ball that was sent my way. I said a small prayer thinking how cool it would be if we actually got our hands on a real major league ball.

At the lead of the fourth inning, Michael Young hit a homerun exactly to my seat. If you saw it on TV, I was the fat guy pushing people over trying to protect myself. There, on national Television and with my son watching, I screamed like a little girl and jumped a full two seats to left to try and get away from it.

The really awesome dad on the row in front of me held his glove up above my face and after catching it, handed the ball over to his slack jawed 9 year old. Luke looked at me, I looked at Luke and we both busted out laughing. Lesson one on baseball night; be careful what you pray for, you might just get it. Lesson two; sometimes you just look stupid when you get what you pray for.


One of the guys that I crawled all over was a sitting next to my son. He was a 19 year old solider on leave from Iraq. We had already thanked him for his service and told him we would be praying for his safety. He said he was headed back to “the sandbox” on Monday.

I told him to keep his Bible with him and asked him he had heard about Private First Class Brendan Schweigart. He said no, so I told him the story I’m telling you now.

Brendan is a 22 year old from Andover, New York. He had his bible tucked in a pocket beneath his bulletproof shield when he was shot with a high-powered rifle while on a mission in Iraq. It saved his life by shielding the bullet from his heart.

According to reports, Schweigart told his mother, Kim Scott, that he always carried a Bible into battle. The Bible he was carrying was one he got at boot camp and there inside the actual book is the bullet that was meant to kill him. He still carries it with him today.

The sniper put bullets through his arm and another through his body but the one that was ment for his heart stopped somewhere past the book of psalms. Schweigart, who received a Purple Heart, has since been released from the hospital and is back on light duty. I think it’s a great idea to keep your heart protected with God’s word.

There is a bible with a bullet in it on display in the Alamo. It has a similar story with a different time and setting. I’ve looked at it through the glass in the long barracks on more than one occasion. This week’s sip from the master’s cup comes with a little advice about protecting your heart. I have been really trying to wrap my head around what that might mean, lately. When that solider hid his bible under his vest he didn’t know that it would cause him to dodge a bullet.

I think keeping Gods word hidden in our heart causes us to dodge something much more lethal.

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Psalms 119:11

PVT 1st class Brendan Schweigart

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's Good to Get a Little Hacked Off!

There’s a stigma among cultural Christianity that the Brewer thinks is false. I call it the doctrine of “Niceism.” It’s the belief that being righteous means being nice all the time. This morning’s sip from the Master’s cup comes a little more caffeinated than usual.

I was reading this week about the Christian hostages that the Taliban has been torturing and murdering over the past few weeks. These 23 Christians from South Korea were on a mission’s trip to encourage the church and help in any way possible, when they were kidnapped on July 19th.

Reports from the area show 18 of the 23 are women, and several of them are sick to the point of death. The kidnapping of these Christians, simply because they are Christians, is the largest abduction of foreigners in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.

The World Yawns

Nearly a dozen Taliban deadlines demanding the release of terrorist prisoners have passed since the Christians were abducted. Two male hostages have been killed so far with the latest death occurring last Monday. The first murder was of Pastor Bae Hyung-kyu, the 42-year-old leader of the kidnapped Koreans. He was found dead from gunshot wounds on July 25. His family said they will not hold a funeral before the remaining hostages return safely home. Can you imagine the grief these sweet people are going through?

The second murder was of 29-year-old Shim Sung-min. His bloodied corpse was found in the southern province of Ghazni, south of Kabul. The body was dumped in a field just off a main road, with his hands tied and bullet wounds to his head. From website reports he was an outstanding young man that wanted to make a difference in this messed up world. Nobody knows the terror that brother went through for being of a different race and a different religion; alone, in a foreign country surrounded by Muslim terrorists with no one there to help him or have mercy on him.

Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf said Wednesday the remaining 21 hostages are still alive, but that they will kill more if their demands are not met. The reports are the hostages are not being fed and there is not much telling what they have to endure.

What about Paris Hilton?

An official with the Institute on Religion and Democracy wonders where the outrage is over these murders and abductions of Christians. A lady named Faith McDonnell, the IRD's director, says the persecution of Christians does not to seem matter to national media. McDonnell is disturbed by the lack of information being broadcast, while Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan receive wall-to-wall coverage.

Additionally, she says, this situation shows the true face of radical Islam and the news is mostly reported as “foreigners” or “Koreans” are being murdered by “Terrorists” and not as “Christians” being murdered by “Islamic extremists” or “radical Muslims”.

Because of the doctrine of niceism, Christians tend to fall in step with this crazy politically correct bunch of bologna. I know a lot of nice people that wouldn’t lift a finger to help anybody. The world is very worried about not hurting the imagined feelings of one person while not giving a rip about real people that are really being tortured and really being shot in the head by very real bullets.

I wish that Christians and decent people of other religions and even non religions would get their priorities straight in what they get upset about. Anyone with any form of humanity in them, much less the love of God, should be outraged, sickened and grieved over what these Christians are going through. At the very least they should be interested.

Christians… I want to tell you something that you might not hear in traditional church services. God hasn’t commanded you to be nice; he has commanded you to be full of life and full of the love of God. We are called salt and light to the world. Sometimes salt stings and sometimes light gives us a headache, but we are still supposed to preserve and overcome darkness for those around us. That might trouble some but it’s ok.

Matthew 10:34
“Don't think that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came to bring trouble, not peace.”
(Contemporary English Version)

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Texans and Tall Taxi Tales

It was a little after 5 in the afternoon when our plane touched down at DFW. The squelch of the tires on the tarmac was one of the most beautiful sounds I’ve heard in a very long time. It had been a month and over 22,000 miles since I last saw Texas and as we taxied to the gate I could hardly wait to kiss my bride and eat an enchilada…in that order.

After a month in India, I have never enjoyed a traffic jam like I did from the airport. Not a single rickshaw or holy cow blocking the highway. It was awesome. All of the Brewer clan went directly, on the right side of the road, to my favorite Tex-Mex joint. It was a lot like what I imagine heaven to be. Family, fellowship and guacamole.

This trip to India was my most successful mission to that part of the word yet. We actually stayed at the orphanage we support and spent a lot of time with my 300 kids. We visited our leper colony and hosted more than 50 pastors at an encouragement conference. I was able to hire an Indian band to back me and one Monday night we did a praise and worship concert for as many people as could stand a song in English. What a hoot!

It was powerful and life changing but it was not without incident. When you travel throughout the world, really anything can happen. Third world countries can be dangerous places and you have to really believe God for protection on so many levels.

Taxis in one form or another have been around for as long as there have been people that needed them. By the end of the 19th century, cars began to appear on NYC streets and it wasn’t long before a number of these cars were hiring themselves out in competition with horse-drawn carriages. Although these electric-powered cabs were slightly impractical with batteries weighing upwards of eight hundred pounds, by 1899 there were nearly one hundred of them on the streets.

Progress has always had its price, and on September 13th of that year, a sixty-eight year-old man named Henry H. Bliss was helping a friend from a streetcar when a taxi swerved and hit him. This gave Bliss the dubious distinction of being the first American to die in a car wreck, and giving cabbies a first glimpse at a reputation they would soon solidify.

I have been in taxicabs all over the world. I think that London has the Best taxicabs and San Francisco has the craziest cab drivers, or at least the funnest. I don’t mind hoping in a cab from time to time so it didn’t bother me to take one from the domestic airport to the international airport in Bombay.

I thought a cab ride through the rugged streets of Bombay might be fun. You never know when you might come across a rope trick or maybe even a cobra charmer. It just so happens though that the cab that my son and I climbed into Bombay was not actually a cab but part a small crew of thieves that looks for gullible fat white guys to rob.

The bottom line is that we were not taken to the airport but the bad part of town where our driver picked up a cohort and commenced to rob us. There is a whole lot to this story but let me tell you this. By the time it was over, we were safely at the airport, with our passports and luggage intact. It really was a miracle.

These confessions of a highly caffeinated Christian only go so far but let me give God glory for giving me and my 16 year old son the ability to overcome those robbers. They got away with a few dollars from Bens front pocket but with a lot less pride and a few less teeth after it was all over with.

My suggestion to the robbers is to not tangle with two men of God from Texas. Especially ones nearly crazy from a lack of enchiladas. If you know my grandmother Francis Millican, please don’t tell her this part of the story. I’m in enough trouble for going there anyway.

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield."

Psalms 91:1-4

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dead Sea Christians

Last Saturday, we had the privledge of doing what we call a “monster” food outreach. We think of it in terms of a monster truck, a whole lot bigger than usual. We gave away more than 60,000 pounds of food, had a free garage sale and cooked more than a thousand hamburgers and hotdogs.

A lot of single moms and grand parents, who now have to raise their grandchildren, came out for several pallets of free diapers. Others came for the free haircuts from 7 professional hairdressers. We gave away more than 500 pairs of brand new shoes and thousands of dollars worth of new and used clothes, all in great shape. It was so much fun and we heard so many testimonies from very grateful people.

It takes a lot of money, a lot of time and a lot of hard work from a lot of giving people to make something like this happen. You might be reading this and wonder why in the world a church would do something like this, and that’s a question I love to answer. It is just as easy to answer why churches don’t make a difference in their community, as it is to answer why churches do, but let me show a picture that explains both.

Bodies of water
Over in the Middle East there’s a tear shaped lake, the locals call a sea. There are several things unique about this body of water and both are found in its very name. “The Dead Sea” is so full of salt and minerals that not a single fish can live in it.

Its 15 miles wide and over 50 miles long and from a distance its beauty is breathtaking. Once you get closer you find its safer to drink dirt then it is to drink from the Dead Sea. Its contents are more than 42% salt and otherwise toxic minerals and the water is so thick with it, you can’t even sink.

At 1300 feet below sea level it’s officially the lowest place on earth and there lies the reason it can’t support life. Because every other place in the world is literally “up hill,” water goes in and nothing goes out. The same water that carries in salt and minerals from the land usually carries out those same materials into other lakes, but not this one. This lake is an eternal geographical receiver and nothing flows out whatsoever.

I’m scared to death of being a “Dead Sea Christian” in a Dead Sea church. We give away more than a million pounds of food every year to people that may never help us in any way because we have so much life flowing into us, we had better have life flowing through us.

A lot of us Christians (and even churches) are positioned in life to continually receive. We take in and never give out. And just like that body of water, many of us have no life in us at all and some of our churches, while beautiful to look at, are more poisonous than life; giving because we only look to receive.

Just like the Dead Sea, you can’t get deep in those kinds of churches. They are full of shallow Christianity and fail to deliver up close what they advertise from far off. As said before, I am scared of being a Dead Sea Christian and confess that my selfishness has probably hurt more people than I’ve ever helped. It’s not something I’ve got a complete handle on, but a mark I am pressing toward by the grace of God.

By the time this is printed, I will be in India with my sixteen-year-old son, Benjamin. We will hanging out at our orphanage in Visakhaptnum and will also spend some time at the leper colony our church supports. Next weeks cup from the Brewer, should be one with a dash of curry in it. I hope to be able to write you from the far side of the world. Don’t forget to say a prayer for the Brewer and don’t you dare be a Dead Sea Christian.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Givin It Up

By his own estimate, Robin Agnew tried to quit smoking about 20 times. "I would quit for about four weeks at a time," said Agnew. "Then one day about 12 years ago, Agnew puffed a cigarette in a Baltimore Maryland Park, threw the rest of his pack in a trash can and never smoked again.

"I finally quit when I became a nurse. It was professionally incompatible," he said.
The Brewer himself used to live in Marlboro Country, but by way of the red sea I was delivered from the Pharaoh of Copenhagen and all things tobacco, back in 1994. It remains one of the greatest single victories of my life.

I had been a dedicated Christian for nearly nine years at that time and had walked right out of a lot of things that sent stronger people to rehabs. But I just couldn't live a life without a round can in my back pocket, even if I was living for Jesus. I learned how to do food outreaches with a dip of snuff in my mouth, and then found me some grace and liberty scriptures to quote if anybody didn't like it.

The truth of the matter is I wanted to quit but didn't know how. Every time I decided to quit it was like trying to land the space shuttle. My projectory would start off right but once the real suffering commenced, I would get off course and fall apart on re-entry.

Rude Awakenings

I would say a prayer, throw a full can of snuff out the window and pull over to buy a new one 10 miles down the road. I had to quit; I had to keep trying, because as Nurse Agnew once said, it was completely incompatible.

On the early morning hours of October 31st 2004, I awoke from a dream that properly motivated me to take my addiction very seriously. There's not any point in me describing it because most would say it was merely a nightmare, but I received it as a holy warning from a Spiritual dad that was taking me to the woodshed.

I got rid of every snuff can and cigarette I could find and to this day have not taken in a measurable amount of any form of nicotine. The last time I quit really was the last time I quit.
Thomas Edison once said, "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time."

Getting back up on the horse is just as important as the horse being broken. I hate bondage. I hate addiction and so does the Lord. I truly don't think that smoking or the use of tobacco is that big of a deal except that it simply is not compatible with the testimony of a Christian. Its bad for you and it's a bad testimony. I don't think smoking will send you to hell, but I do think it will make you smell like you've been there.

Across the Pond

Several years ago my wife and I were on one of our first visits to Uganda, East Africa. At a baptism ceremony in a fast moving river, about 50 new converts were about to take the holy plunge. Once the music started people began to celebrate and to my amazement the folks in line striped down naked! Their public display revealed a lot more than their faith in Jesus.

A few years later, that same Pastor was touring through Texas when he stopped to preach at my church, Open Door Ministries. He came in my office and said "Pastor Troy, there are people smoking cigarettes in the parking lot outside. Why do you not go out and confront them?"
I reminded him that I had been to his church several times and that he should be more concerned for the naked people in his church than the smokers in mine. I will take smokers over streakers any day of the week.

The bottom line is that Christ set us free not for us to be in bondage but for us to be set free. If you have tried hard to come out of some things and failed before, I encourage you to try again. Don't give up! Your life is worth fighting for. Addiction is incompatible with a victorious person like you. There is no point in being defeated by an already defeated devil.

Romans 6:18"Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."

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Monday, May 28, 2007

A Big Shout Out To All Our Graduates

The Party Is On!

People that are Godly and people that are thankful, observe accomplishment. We know that God loves to reward achievement because the Bible says, “He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

In the book of Genesis the Bible also says that at the end of the day, and in every stage of creation, God stopped what He was doing and said, “IT IS GOOD.” That means He celebrated the accomplishments of creation, not just at the end, but also at every stage along the way.

Even before He created people and even before He could share anything with anybody, at the end of every single phase, God stopped what He was doing, put a little party hat on, threw some confetti into the air and said “IT IS GOOD.”

In this world it is so easy to make a big deal out of bad things. It’s so easy to be upset over failure and disappointment. That’s why God wants us to make a big deal out of achievement and realization. Your graduation ceremony is mostly about celebrating the fact that you finished what you started out to do. Way to go graduates!

Old School

22 years ago I sat at my high school graduation ceremony. I sat in that seat listening to an old codger like me talk about something that I can not even begin to recall and I could not have imagined that in 20 years I would be the one giving the speeches. When it comes to remembering graduation ceremonies, there is one that I will never forget.

On one of our many missions’ trips to Mexico, we were feeding people in the trash dumps of Matomoros. It was a hot day and the lines were long. In the midst of handing out food I heard what sounded like applause and excited laughter behind me. I turned around just in time to see a beautiful little girl taking her very first steps.

That day, the same scene was being played out in comfortable air conditioned homes all across America, but there in the trash dumps of Matomoros, the great moment of triumph was every bit as exciting and worth celebrating. She might have had to learn how to walk in a filthy trash dump but make those steps she did. Everybody in line began to clap and cheer as the daddy swept up his little girl in his arms!

Crossing the Stage

In no way did it end all of that family’s problems, but still it was progress. The Lord taught me right there through a living sermon that you have to stop looking at what stinks long enough to rejoice over the achievement of forward progression. Even if those steps are little bitty. Even if there are yucky things all around us, progress should be celebrated.

Congratulations graduates on your big walk across the stage as you cross this stage of your life. We celebrate this victory and believe God for many more.

I hope to see you all on that great graduation day in the future when we meet the Lord eye to eye and hear him say,” Well done, good and faithful servants." I plan on throwing the Brewer’s Cup (or at least my hat!) way up into the air.


The Brewer welcomes your input at or by phone at 817-297-6911.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Spartans, Texans and Warrior Kings

Almost 500 years before Christ, a Spartan army of only 300 men stood against a million or so Persians at a place called Thermopylae. Now the Brewer is not particularly a big fan of ancient Spartans. Besides destroying the fair city my mama named me after with a stinking wooden horse, they were also known to be racist and Pagans that had no mercy for anyone. With that said, the Texan in me can’t help but love the astonishing quality of warriors they produced.

The King that is so famous for this military miracle was a guy by the name of Leonidas. What I just love about King Leonidas is that he wasn’t just a king, he was a warrior King. He didn’t sit on a golden thrown and order men to fight. He fought out front of all his men and invited them to fight with him. I love the whole idea of a warrior king.

Almost two hundred years later another warrior king rose from the same part of the world but this one would be remembered as “Great”. Alexander conquered the known world not for any righteous reason but just because he wanted to. Before it was over, millions would be dead and many more hurting because of Alexander’s ambition of conquest. Though I don’t much care for his empire any better, I can’t help but love the fact that he was a warrior King.

After Alexander turned south on the Indus River he encountered a warlike clan called the Mali. After building siege weapons and ladders they attacked the walled city and Alexander was the first one over the walls. He was so far ahead of the rest of his men that he actually engaged the entire army by his self while his men scrambled to keep up with him. With an arrow in his lung and a sword in his hand Alexander the great fought in hand-to-hand combat until his men were able to subdue the enemy. I love a warrior King.

Almost 2300 years later on holy ground that would be called Texas, a General with a righteous cause, raced across the San Jacinto battlefield. Though vastly outnumbered and in broad day light, Sam Houston was so far ahead of the rest of his men that he drew all the fire of the Mexican dictator’s troops. Having two horses shot out from under him, he limped towards the enemy with pointed sword yelling, “Remember the Alamo, Remember Goliad!”

Sam Houston would soon be the President of the nation of Texas. Though he was a political leader he was also a proven warrior. I love a warrior King.

Being a fairly famous Jesus freak with ever growing popularity, I get a lot of letters and e-mails. Most of them cuss me but there are more and more asking me what denomination or nondenominational group I subscribe to. I am for what ever in Christianity is wimp free. Sign me up with the Christians that have the guts to be Christians in a day where men act more like women then men. Show me those Christians that are not just talking about the love of God but actually demonstrating it through the hard work it takes to make a real difference in somebody’s life. Put me in line with the people that are living proof that God never consults your history before giving you a future.

You see; real Christians don’t just serve a King. They serve a passionate, warrior King and those of us that follow him live a lifetime of learning how to get out of His way and let him fight like He wants to. Not only is Christ not scared of the battles that you and I face, he actually gets excited about the prospect of another glorious scrap. That’s the way our King is. Unlike any we have ever seen before, He’s compassionate, ready to serve, approachable and full of mercy but make no mistake about it. He is a warrior King.

Exodus 15:3

The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

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