Wednesday, July 30, 2008


This year in movies has been a lot like the beginning of Oliver Twist. It’s been the best of times and the worst of times. I am about to tell you my twist on the biggest movie of the year so far, why it’s a great movie and why its message is as dark as the title suggests.


Before you accuse me of being like Harvey Dent, let me tell you there is nothing wrong with a Christian being entertained. When my parents were kids, they were told that if Jesus came back while they were in the movie house, they would all miss the rapture. So they snuck into the matinées hoping and praying the return of the Lord would be warded off one more day.

It’s a lot like teenage Christian boys do before they get married. They get on their knees besides their bed and pray with tears, “Please don’t come back before my wedding night!” There are some things a young man just doesn’t want to miss.

A Better Class of Criminal

Anyway, it’s ridiculous and downright counter-Christian to say we only belong in a church house. Religion is always focused on going to Heaven even it means blowing yourself up or flying a plane into a building. Christianity is all about bringing Heaven to earth. Overcoming evil with goodness; you know, life and life more abundantly. When religion bleeds over into Christianity, it’s just as ugly as Sharia law and the Brewer wants nothing to do with it.

The other side of Harvey’s coin is I realize Christ set me free for freedom’s sake. Not so I could be caught up in the same mess as everyone else. So there are lots of things I don’t want to be a part of. Just because its legal, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. So when I go to a movie, I’ll enjoy it because it’s a good movie. Sometimes, I enjoy a well-made movie and totally disagree with the message it projects.

For me, the latest Batman movie was just like that.

If you asked me what I thought about the movie I would agree with most of what you have already heard. Great acting, the cinematography was awesome and the dialog was well thought out. I liked the pace of the movie and being a musician, the score and the sound would get a 10 from me. A well made movie not full of sex scenes and terrible language. I knew it would be violent so nothing shocked me or seemed way out of whack. Excellent movie.

Did I like it? No, not really.

Why So Serious?

There’s a theme I see a lot these days and nowhere better than in this movie. The theme has to do with loosing our minds, making terrible decisions and destructive behavior all based upon the trauma we suffer. The Joker, Two Face and even Batman himself, are all people that live in terrible darkness justified by something else terrible. The idea being if you have had something traumatic happen to you, it just makes sense to throw everything else out the window. I don’t like that and I see it everyday in people we are ministering to.

There is no hope in that message and it’s a growing theme to the mindset of our generation.

Lets Put a Smile on That Face

So if there are bats in your belfry, there’s still hope for a right mind. No matter what your history is, the truth of Christianity says your destiny in Christ is much greater. The love of God is greater than the pain of the world. I’m not minimizing anyone’s trauma; I’m simply maximizing your potential for a much greater future.

You’re no Joker. You’re somebody God has his eye on. He has bet his life on a much better future for all of us. You tap into your fullest once you hook up with Him.

...But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. Romans 5:20

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dixon and Willoughby

Do you like your name? It used to be that a person’s name really meant something. Troy Brewer could be interpreted “city of trouble” since Troy is a famous ancient city and one definition of Brewer is a troublemaker. But you and I both know the real meaning of my last name and I don’t think it originally had to do with coffee. So, I guess you could also call me “Milwaukee”. That’s another city famous for Brewing.

Don’t panic, were sticking to a coffee theme. In fact I love coffee so much maybe one of my kids will call their first child Starbuck. That would be –no actually that wouldn’t be good at all. Star Buck Brewer.

Speaking of weird names for your kid, my el-primo iPhone has a news application and I was checking the wire last week. There was a picture of this knucklehead and his pregnant girlfriend posing in front of their love shack. The reason for the headline is because they had both agreed to sell the rights to their unborn boy's name to an Orlando radio station for a $100 gas card. Two disc jockeys plan to name the baby after themselves. When the baby is born this winter, he will be named Dixon and Willoughby Partin, with the "and" included. The mama, Samantha says at least her son will have an interesting story about how he got his name.

That’s what all of us want in life, isn’t it? An interesting story about how we got our name. Not a family. Not a role model, certainly not parents that make good decisions and do things for the benefit of their children. What it all comes down to is show and tell time on why you have a pathetically stupid name.

I know another interesting story he will have to tell. His mom and dad loved each other but not enough to be married and give this kid his daddy’s name. However, they thought it best to turn over this responsibility to a couple of guys on the radio because dad needed a tank of unleaded. Woop-T-swingin-doo is what I have to say about that.

Dixon and Willoughby plan to be at the hospital when the baby is born and will hand over the gas card when they see the official birth certificate. I bet dad is there long enough to get his card and 15 minutes of fame. Then he’ll burn up the highway to the nearest quick sack for another twenty dollars worth of lotto tickets.

Of course, Samantha’s daddy is sure proud of who his daughter hooked up with and her fantastic decision making paradigm. God bless her and Dixon and Willoughby. I’m not referring to the radio hosts but to the kid...oh it’s all a big mess. I wonder if he will refer to himself as ‘we’ instead of I.

First day of school: Dixon and Willoughby are you are here?

Some beautiful little first grader: “Yes, we are present ma’am.”

How stupid is that? People wonder why some guy is in a tower sniping innocent people with a hunting rifle and sometimes it’s because his parents were idiots. My friend Steve Jones says his wife teaches a child with the first name of Placenta. When they asked the mama why she would give her child such a name, she said, “Placenta is a hospital term”.

So is fecal matter but I wouldn’t give that name to a parrot. If you don’t understand the word, don’t tag your kid with the name. When I consider these same people are going to vote, it makes me want to go on a 40 day fast for our country.

Enough of my rant. Let me finish and say names are important. Identity is a really big deal. Nobody knows you and I better than our maker and nobody has a greater right to tell us who we are. Every time a human being has a personal encounter with this God, we come away with not only a new perspective of who He is, but who we are as well. He calls us royalty, he calls us family and he always calls us blessed. He also gives us the grace to live up to the good name He calls us.

And being found in appearance as a man, he (Jesus) humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name. Philippians 2:8-9

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Middle Aged Crazy!

There are several wrong things I used to think about people my age. I remember thinking when I hit 41, I would be old. I also thought in the year 2000 I would fly a hovercraft and shoot a ray gun. None of it was true. I had other silly thoughts like everybody felt grown up at 18 or maybe 21. I am for the first time in my life, just now, feeling like I am not a kid anymore. So it stood to silly reason I would feel old in my forties but it’s just not the case. There’s less smileage on the mileage and I’m aware of wear and tear, but I certainly don’t think I am old.

I have never been afraid of getting old. My thirties were much better than my twenties and I fully expect my forties to be much better than my thirties. There are big advantages to being my age, one of the greatest being; all four of my kids have jobs! Life for the Brewer is generally sweet.

One of the good things about being middle-aged is I find pleasure in much simpler things. For example, if I wear a belt, my belly button is a lot closer to where it’s supposed to be and that makes me happy.

The New Thirty

In the early eighties Jerry Lee Lewis came out with a song called Middle Aged Crazy. The lyrics described a man that fought off old age by trading everything in for a newer model. I vaguely remember a movie with the same title. I think it had Bruce Dern in it.

It seems to me, the anxieties many of us face at this age, especially for men, come from not having achieved certain dreams. The disappointment of being a lot poorer than you thought you would be and the realization of where you really are in life can cause any feller to shout a Homer Simpson “D’oh!’

Woulda-coulda-shoulda is a mantra chanted by people throughout the centuries and it doesn’t get you anything except a fresh bottle of Zanex. As Christians, God has a way of connecting us much more with our destiny than our history. That should be our priority. The need to achieve should motivate us and not be degraded to faster cars and younger women.

Better Hope Breakdown

I think it’s the will of God to turn general frustration into what I call Holy Ghost anticipation. With some help from the grace of God it can actually be healthy to be discontent with our current circumstances. The hope for better things is a really big deal.

But a thinking culture of self-pity will spin you off into dark places like a goldfish down the toilet. A date on the calendar should never justify those mindsets. A mental file full of times past should not justify our doubt and unbelief.

If our attention is more focused on what God has done and what God is still doing, instead of what we think God should of done or what God didn’t do, we will be people grateful, thankful and full of better hope. Middle aged “happy” you might say.

“As a man thinketh, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Parts Unknown

1983 was not just a Jemi Hendrix song; it was also a year of our Lord that began on a Saturday. President Reagan called it the ‘Year of the Bible.’ It was the year Carrie Underwood the singer, was born and the year that Bear Bryant the football coach died.

It’s the year we said hello to the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and the year we said goodbye to the De Lorean motor company.

At the same time McDonalds was bringing us the Chicken McNugget we waved goodbye to NASA’s Pioneer Ten as it left our solar system for parts unknown

Parts is Parts

Now the Brewer worked at McDonalds in 1983. I cooked and cleaned underneath a giant Afro that was crammed under a McDonalds hat. I was sixteen years old spending my long days at Joshua High and my long nights working for the vision of Ray Kroc. It was a good place for me to work and my first real job outside of working on farms.

Every time we would fry up a new batch of chicken nuggets we would throw them out of the deep fryer while proudly proclaiming, “parts is parts.” I don’t know if you remember it or not, but Wendy’s came out with a commercial that year causing people to question the ingredients of our beloved pieces of bird.

It went something like this:

Announcer: Those nibits some hamburger places serve are actually processed chicken

Customer in line: Excuse me sir what is that meal I saw there?

McDonald employee: Chicken.

Customer: What’s Processed chicken?

McDonald's employee: Yeah that’s like when they take a lot of chicken and assemble their respected parts.

Customer: What parts?

McDonald's employee: “Different parts. Parts is parts”

Unknown Parts

Its not just fast food that has parts unknown. There are lots of things you can look at and not tell what it’s made of. A woman’s heart for example; now theirs there’s an unsearchable place! Geographically speaking I have been to places in Africa and in India that have yet to appear on a map. One time me and some friends of mine rented a river boat in Costa Rica and went to a village way out in the middle of nowhere for a food outreach. I don’t necessarily recoil at parts unknown; it’s just how God made me.

Parts is not parts when it comes to the map of our daily lives. We love the roads we have often traveled. We find security in things most familiar. It’s those unknown parts that we reject and try to steer away from because we don’t know how we will handle those places. We are not sure if we can hold ourselves together in parts unknown.

I find myself in places all the time where I’m not sure how to map it out. Spiritual places, emotional places, relational places. Places I don’t really want to be at in this stage of my life and places I’ve never been before. Parts unknown.

There is a verse from the Bible I hang on to reserved for unknown areas. It’s a promise from the Lord himself that offers me security when treading through those vulnerable places past the familiar and common.

“…and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Matthew 28:20

Jesus said this Himself and it’s the promise of His very presence. The newer translations say the ‘end of the age.’ So the promise is that if you are at the end of a season in your life or the end of an era or the end of your mapped out territory even at the end of your rope, what ever your problem is, it wont be that you are alone. Jesus is there and He’s hoping you will look for Him.

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