Thursday, May 22, 2008


I saw a police officer pull over a guy in Joshua and had him walking the line for a sobriety test. He was obviously under the influence and it wasn’t the Holy Ghost. I felt sorry for him knowing how much trouble he was in, yet grateful for the police officer at the same time. That’s a paradox and I like that. There are lots of paradoxes in Christianity.

I do a lot of prison ministry, in fact my band Joshua Rising, is recording a live CD in the Eastham Unit next month. I love those guys behind bars. Yet, at the time I always leave those units saying, “Thank God for prisons.”

You love justice for your society yet you love the individual offender as a human being that needs help. To me, its not confusing, it just a little funny.

Since seeing that brother under the influence, I’ve been thinking about that word. According to Webster, influence is the power or capacity of causing an effect on someone.

Jesus said something about influence when he said; whoever is the greatest servant has the greatest authority. Because of this, I often say, “The way to the throne room is through the servant’s quarters”. You gain powerful influence in people lives by serving them in a way that is valuable. Value is everything when it comes to influence.

Feeding For Influence

Last Saturday our food outreach to the poor fed 139 local families (about 550 people) with over 12,000 pounds of good groceries. Like every week, there was a lot of hard work involved. The groceries are not free, yet we freely give them away. The event only lasts for a couple of hours yet there are hundreds of man-hours involved with every outreach.

I point blank tell people up front why we are such radical givers to them. Number one, because Jesus loves them and number two, because we want an opportunity to influence them towards something much better.

The church lost its influence in America when the church lost its value in our society. We have been moved to the margins because we are no longer about serving those around us. God help us to stop building our personal empires and be about building the Kingdom.

The Offer Of Influence

The Mafia’s way of gaining influence is through making you an offer you can’t refuse. Islam is marching through the world doing the same thing. Their way is through terror and Jihad. In both extreme and mainstream cases of Islamic ruled cultures, women are treated worse than animals and children abusively taught to hate and to fear.

We Christians point out how horrible that is, yet tend to use some of the same tactics and have the same mindset. No, we are not making women wear burkas and forbidding them to be educated, but many of us try to gain influence through being combative and overbearing. Our tactics of intrusion and invasion simply don’t work.

Kris Vallotton says that many times we believers become combative instead of “honorably confronting” and we should be demonstrating the benefits of a superior kingdom. When we combat instead of demonstrate, he says, “We reduce our influence to the small pond of the church and render ourselves powerless to the ocean of humanity.” Preach it Kris.

The Brewer takes influence as a very serious issue. If good people don’t have the influence in our culture, then I promise you someone or something else will.

Silence of the Lambs

In the mid eighties, I knew a part time preacher that made a living by working in a slaughterhouse in Cleburne. He loved the meat market and the trade of cutting meat. Out of the blue, Weldon called me one day and said, “Troy you’ve got to come down here and see something.” It was something that would impact my life.

When I pulled up behind the processing plant I saw a pen with about a hundred bleating sheep and they were totally freaked out. The door to the processing plant and to their death was wide open and all the sheep scurried to stay away from it. They huddled together on the opposite side of the pen careful to not go anywhere near that chute. Somehow they knew what it leads to.

My friend told me that unlike cows, when sheep get to the plant they have an awareness of impending doom. He said, “Isn’t that something, how they know better than to go inside?” then he confidently said. “Now watch this.”

A moment latter he released two goats into the same pen. They ran to the herd and mixed in with the sheep. After a few minutes they seemed to calm and Weldon rattled a bucket with feed. At once the goats jumped from the herd and into the chute of the slaughterhouse. To my surprise, one by one, all of those sheep that earlier wouldn’t have anything to do with going inside, followed the goats and with the last one in, Weldon closed the door. It was a big metal door and made a dramatic sound that sent a chill down my spine.

Weldon smiled. “You see that? Be careful of goats in your life, Troy.”

That’s a sermon on influence I would never forget.

You can reach The Brewer at

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Love For Life

I had somebody ask me if I thought it was dangerous to be so “over compulsive” in the things I do. I discerned they really meant, was I overly passionate. Their religious experience had taught them that passion was dangerous, and so it is – to religion.

Here’s how it is. I stop dead in my tracks when a butterfly crosses my path. I love those little flowers with wings. Call me a pansy but the Brewer also loves flowers. I have a real appreciation for things that look, taste and smell good. Sometimes I’ll get a cup of coffee and just smell it for a long time. Oh, my love for the bean. God did well to name me Brewer.

There’s a sunroof in my wife’s SUV. I love it when she drives and I can just stare up at the clouds. Man I love clouds and I always see faces and shapes in them. I love the layers and the textures. It’s supernatural art in the natural sky and it’s a show that plays almost every day of the week.

Three years ago on a hunting trip, I blasted a 10-point buck near Refugio. I spent an hour mesmerized at those horns. Looking at every little bump on his G2 and G3. I’m like that. I love to savor things. I didn’t used to be; but advancing in my Christian faith and love for the Lord has made me love life in a way I don’t think I ever could have otherwise. It’s sad to me that this seems out of place for so many people.

I know some that call themselves Christians think we should be monks that beat ourselves on the back and commit to living life as close to death as possible. They think Christianity only happens within the walls of a church. They are smoking religious crack.

God forbid we should dance with or wine and dine our spouse. They think we should all take a vow to never laugh and that evangelism means suckering the most powerful people on the planet into a spiritual look-a-like contest. The Brewer rebels against the like. I join forces with Travis and Davey Crocket and I stand on the adobe walls of real freedom. Taunting the Santa Anna of Religion. Taking on hell with a water pistol if I have to.

Last week I was in Northern California. There’s a dam just west of a small town called Winters that is so beautiful. I parked my car and gazed over the edge. The mountain, the canyon, the blue of the lake, the rush of the river behind the dam, all of it was amazing. It was a great place for a Jesus freak to cry out and say thank you. It was as awesome as any church service I’ve ever been in except my friends weren’t there with me.

I have noticed that a big part of modern Christianity is suspicious of those of us that have a real zeal for life. They lean more toward religion then toward what some of us call Kingdom living.

Their version of Jesus is that he is dead and on a cross, and so we ought to be as well. Our version is that He is risen and so should we be. They think he loved death, we think He loves life. According to Luke 22, Jesus didn’t want to die, he wanted to do the Father’s will and that’s what led him to the cross. His love for life was the whole reason of why He was here in the first place. To give us life, and that life more abundantly.

While religion to me is like Kryptonite to Superman, I think a passion for life from a Christian perspective is like nitro to gasoline. Religion restricts us but Christ sets us free. Religion makes us known for our boxes and what we don’t do. Life in the Spirit makes us known for how we live in victory.

George Washington, Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt had spiritual values that restrained their behavior but they are not known for what they did not do. They are known for what they did do. May we be Christians that are known for how we live life, not for how we don’t.

I was reading a book called Developing A Supernatural Lifestyle by Kris Vallotton.

In it Kris writes, “If we as Christians are going to walk as God’s ruling royalty, it is incumbent upon us to pray unceasingly, give sacrificially, dream unreasonably, serve whole heartedly, love unashamedly, walk innocently, believe undoubtedly and live powerfully”.

I lift my highly caffeinated cup to you sir. May we all learn to love and live life the way God does.

You can contact the Brewer at

Monday, May 12, 2008

What Goes Around

From King Arthur’s table to the O in Oprah, people are fascinated with things that are round. Charles Barkley in his big shaved head was called the round mound of rebound and gosh how people loved him. Santa has a belly, pool has its cue, the earth has the moon and the solar system has its planets. (8 or 9 depending on whom you’re talking to.) There are Ben Franklin’s glasses, polka dots and wheels of cheese. Even if you’re square, there’s something round that gets your attention.

The Skinny On Round Steak

Before I was a Pastor, writer, musician and general renascence man, I was in the repo business. I actually was in management for a rent to own company but in truth I was a glorified repo-man. That’s right, the Brewer would spend 12 hours a day, six days a week working the six housing projects in Ft Worth. My store was on the corner of Lancaster and Miller, a very dangerous place for anyone to spend 60 or 70 hours a week and though I was an authentic country bumpkin, it was a perfect job for a kid that wasn’t afraid.

As I became friends with lots of clients I was often invited to bar-b-que's for “roundsteak.” The first little party I went to changed my life and added a new word to my vocabulary. The man cooking, stabbed a thick slice of baloney off the grill, put it on my plate and said,” have yourself a slice of roundsteak, Troy."

Round and Round

It was good for me to be involved in the mess of all those housing projects because it made me want to help people that needed help. I never minded so much retrieving a stereo or a big screen but a stove or a refrigerator or even a washing machine from some poor family or single mom was a terrible responsibility. As a Christian that believed in demonstrating God’s personality, it also posed a serious moral dilemma. I was praying with my wife about it one night and she came up with a brilliant idea.

We worked out a deal with a used appliance guy on Hemphill Street, raised some funds from like-minded friends and tried our new plan the next weekend. On Saturday morning I knocked on a door in the Butler housing project. A few minutes later I was rolling a refrigerator out of an apartment while the woman of the house called me every name she could think of. The neighbors came out to see what all the racket was about, the kids were crying, people were screaming, “That ain’t right!” The milk and food was going to go bad. Somebody threw something at me that had some kind of yucky liquid in it, I don’t know. It was ugly.

Several hours later I knocked on that same door again with a used but very good and fully paid for, refrigerator. When she asked me what I wanted, I told her, “I came in the name of Remco before, but this time I come in the name of Jesus. I want you to have this for your family, it’s free.”

She cried and cried and Heaven scored one for the good guys. Right through the goal posts and between the devil’s eyes. It was awesome. For the next 2 years I worked there and Leanna and I replaced every refrigerator and cooking stove that I had personally repossessed for my company. Some 30 or 40 in all. They didn’t cost that much and it wasn’t that big of a deal but it made a big difference and was a powerful ministry.

Gather Round

Today in our ministry to the poor, we still give away appliances through our food bank warehouse but I don’t have to buy them anymore. People just give them to us and we give them away to families as fast as we can get them. In 13 years at Open Door I have had many times more the number of refrigerators and other appliances given to me than I ever gave out. It works like that. God is faithful to payback over and beyond anything we do in his service.

Here’s what I know; you reap what you sow. What comes around goes around. We tend to think about that in negative terms but the principle of reaping and sowing is supposed to be about harvest. God will never allow you to out-God, God. We are not going to be more faithful, loving or kind than He is. He will always outshine us. He’s magnificent like that and I love him for it.

He’s just looking for an opportunity to do it, something to work with. Whatever random act of kindness God wants you to show to somebody else, I double dog dare you to do it. You might make a bigger difference than you think and that big of difference will come back around to you.

Galatians 6:9
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Visit the Brewer at

Thursday, May 1, 2008


This week’s confession from a highly caffeinated Christian comes perking with a feisty rant for true Christianity. As an opinion columnist, I get to cheer on the good guys the way I want. I also get my share of hate mail and thought we’d read one together as I fire back a response reminiscent of Travis to Santa Anna.

“To The Brewer,

...You are an interesting and intelligent person. It bewilders me that someone like you could believe in such nonsense as Christianity.

I have heard it said that it doesn’t matter if you believe in God, but I say it matters because people like you who believe in imaginary beings are delusional. It matters because people who talk to imaginary beings are delusional. It matters because people who believe in imaginary superstitions like prayer are delusional. You and people like you, worry me.

You answer non-relevant issues but never answer questions, like why God doesn’t heal amputees and why Christianity supports slavery? You’ll never answer those questions.

It’s that simple, and that obvious. Your religious belief hurts you personally and hurts us as a species because they are delusional.

You are a smart person. It is time for you to use your intelligence to free yourself from these delusions. It is time for you to begin thinking like a rational human being, rather than clinging to imaginary friends and childhood fantasies.”

Dazed & Confused, Burleson, Texas

Ladies and gentlemen, the rant will now begin.

Dear Dazed and Confused, in the words of the late Ann Landers, “There is a geranium in your cranium.”

Number one, nobody ever asks me those questions because they don’t go to the same liberal websites where you mined those questions. While you accuse me of dishonesty, you’re not even sincere enough to come up with your own gripe. When you spend so much time hating somebody you say isn’t real, who’s delusional?

To answer, I ask you where in the Bible is it promised that if someone looses an arm, God will miraculously grow it back? There are 31,171 verses in a King James Bible, and I am not aware of a single verse that promises a new foot if you fall under a train.

Furthermore, how do you know God has never healed an amputee?

When you say Christianity supports slavery, I think what you mean is the Bible supports slavery. It’s funny to me that non-believers say the Bible supports slavery while those of us that do believe the Bible can see it doesn’t. Maybe you have to actually read the Bible in context and not just a scripture strategically placed on your narrow-minded websites.

Let me ask you a question on this same subject. What are you and your atheist brothers doing to prevent slavery right now? I can tell you what we Christians and Bible believers are doing. None of the slaves in Sudan or the children sexually enslaved throughout the Caribbean are hoping the atheists of the world will unite and help them.

I have personally bought human beings in Mexican trash dumps and in northern Uganda. I bought two teenage girls in Costa Rica to bring them out of a brothel and into the care of a church in San Jose. I did that for the same reason you do nothing: my belief in Jesus. My Christian faith spurs me to take action.

When you say our religious beliefs hurt us and humanity as a whole, I know you are smoking mental crack.

I have been to India many times where there is a Hindu temple on every corner but never a hospital or an orphanage. It’s Christians that go there and build those things.

I have been to the Middle East where there is a mosque on every corner and have never seen a single women’s shelter, or an orphanage or old folks’ home. No Christianity, no humanity – go figure.

Do you know that despite the overwhelming wealth of the Roman Empire, the Egyptian Empire, the Babylonian Empire and the Syrian Empire, they never did anything for the betterment of others?

In all the world’s study of great nations, there has never been found one single example, through inscription or archeology, that these societies had one single hospital, housing for the poor, a food bank, an orphanage, an old folks’ home, not even one single college or university. Nations never had any of these things until the Bible got into the hands of the common people, and Christians began acting like Christians. What you call delusional is in fact Life and Life more abundantly.

To this day, there has never been an atheist who put together a Constitution that gives the people power. Where are the lines of examples of atheists clothing the naked, healing the sick, helping the poor and encouraging the people to do great things?

Every good thing in this country has happened and will happen because of people that follow the teaching of Jesus Christ or non-believers who adhere to civilization that was brought on through the teachings of Christ.

So on behalf of Christians everywhere sir, enjoy your freedom, your education and civilization in general. On my personal behalf, and in the words of the prophet Flo from Mel’s dinner, “Kiss my grits!”

Contact the Brewer at