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.


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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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Sunday, May 6, 2007

Overcoming In The Day The Music Dies

On October 7th, 1995 Waylon Jennings returned to Clear Lake Iowa the same way he left 36 years before - by bus. More than 2,000 fans packed the Surf Ballroom to see a world famous performer, initially made famous by not being on the plane that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. It was something that Waylon had avoided doing for more than three decades.

It seems that planes and musicians don’t mix very well. The Freebird went down and killed most of the Lynard Skynard band. Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Otis Redding, Jim Croce, Ricky Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughn were all stars that fell from the sky. But the really big one that made the biggest impact was only a four-seater and one of those seats had belonged to Waylon Jennings.

The Big Bopper had the flu and he asked Waylon if he could have his place on the little plane because he couldn’t sleep on the bus. Waylon being the low man on the totem pole agreed and so they sent him off to buy some hotdogs. When he got back, Buddy Holly was sitting in a chair, leaned back against the wall and grinning from ear to ear.

‘So I hear your not going with us on the plane tonight?” he said as Waylon handed him a hotdog. “Well, I hope your ol' bus freezes up. It's 40-below out there and you're gonna get awful cold.” So Waylon turned to him and said the last words he would ever say to his close friend,
“Well, I hope your ol' plane crashes.”

The next day Waylon found out the same way the rest of the world did. The tour group left him stranded in Wisconsin and he had no way to get home or even go to the funeral. He spent several days sitting in a diner looking out at the cold hard winter and wondering what he was going to do. It was a devastating loss that shook every fiber of who he was.

That’ll Be The Day

So In 1995, Jennings returned to the Surf Ballroom, an authentic country legend and performer. He walked out onto the stage in his old age and long hair, remembering his
youth and crew cut from 1959. The music was different and so was he. It was a big deal.
"The last time I was here I stood right over there," he said to the crowd on the night of his return, pointing to the left side of the stage. Jennings asked for the audience lights to be turned on, and the people cheered.

"I recognize this place and I recognize backstage. The last time I saw Buddy, he was leaning against the wall, thinking. Buddy did a lot of that.

"This is kind of a special night for me," Jennings said. "I lost some great friends that night. You should have known Buddy, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. They were great. That's all I'm going to say about that," he said, as he broke out into "Me and Bobby McGee."
That concert was more than a performance by a musician; it was about a man coming back to face one of the most tragic events of his life.

True Love Ways

What I really like about this story is that Waylon went back to the Surf Ballroom not as a victim, but as an overcomer. It hadn’t been easy but somehow he went from a struggling bass player that lost a career in one tragic night to a country music legend that every body wanted a piece of. He went back to that place but not as the person he used to be and that is the difference between his and a lot of other people’s stories.

I don’t know if Waylon was a Christian or not but these are the kinds of stories attached to victorious Christian people. I think God will eventually lead us back to those places where we were once defeated and have us stand there as the bad motor scooter he has made us to be. He makes us grow up There is a healing for Christians I think that only comes from our journey in Christ where God will have us make friends with those terrible things that used to haunt us.
Not because we have to but because we have become so confident in who we are as victorious people that we can go through those places without being victimized.

As it is written, “For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans 8:36 & 37

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