Friday, November 28, 2008

Thinking on Thanks

So Thanksgiving has come again and found us abundantly blessed. Most of our abundance remains as an extra pant size or more junk in our trunk but I still buy into the abundance thing. I had some friends from east Africa staying with me and they found the whole Thanks-giving holiday a miraculous event. - That a nation would actually put together an official holiday where people give thanks. Amazing.

I of course explained that non-Christians are not obligated to be thankful to anyone in particular but have pretty much agreed to be generally thankful. It’s kind of like being generally married, I think. Weird I know but secular or sacred, I love Thanksgiving.

Anyway I would like to generally share some wide-ranging thoughts on thankfulness in general. Being thankful is not just a character trait but also an emotional and spiritual gold mine. These are points I consider worth sipping on in this weeks confession from a highly-caffeinated Christian.

(1) You can’t be thankful and miserable at the same time.

One of the neat things about an attitude of gratitude is a move towards thankfulness is a move away from misery. It’s a lot like trying to whistle and sing at the same time.

(2) The opposite of thankfulness is not being unthankful….it’s selfishness.

Being thankful turns your attention to how awesome God is and from what you don’t have to what you do have. It also launches you into a self-realization that none of us are self-made men or women. We are abundantly blessed.

(3) A huge key to being thankful is choosing to see the truth over the facts.

Jesus doesn’t say you shall know the facts and the facts will set you free. There’s a big difference and it takes intentional faith to choose the truth over the facts.

(4) Thanksgiving is the gateway to God’s manifest presence.

The Bible says over and over again that we enter into His courts and through his gates via thanksgiving. If that’s true, and I think it is, it is also true a sure fire pathway to the other direction is through griping and complaining. I can’t tell you how many times I have sent my thought life to hell by partnering with the enemy in refusing to be thankful.

(5) Learning to be thankful in all things, is knowing who is with you in all things.

When the disciples thought they were going to drown they woke up Jesus and asked why He didn’t care. He calmed the storm and asked them where their faith was. The point was not that he could calm the storm. The point was that if He was in the boat, the outcome was certain. If you can’t thank God for all things, we can at least thank Him in all things.

A word worth its weight in gold.

There once was a guy named Rudyard Kipling who lived from 1865 to 1936. He was English, yet born in Bombay, India. He eventually became a successful writer and is the author of books like Captain Courageous, How the Leopard Got His Spots, and The Jungle Books.

Kipling’s writings not only made him famous but also brought him a fortune. A newspaper reporter came up to him once and said, "Mr. Kipling, I just read that somebody calculated that the money you make from your writings amounts to over one hundred dollars a word.”

The reporter reached into his pocket and pulled out a one hundred-dollar bill and gave it to Kipling and said, “Here’s a one hundred dollar bill, Mr. Kipling. Now you give me one of your hundred dollar words.”

Rudyard Kipling looked at the money, put it in his pocket and said, "Thanks!"

It is in that vein that the Brewer says a hearty Texas “Thank You” to those of you who look to the Fresh from the Brewer column each week for your sip from the Master’s cup.

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*This article will appear in newspapers the week of 12/04/08

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Classic Christianity

Revisiting a classic is always a little risky. I've lost count of the number of films that I was convinced would never date which seem kind of cheesy now. Not that the twist in the movie was cheesy, but the general coolness of the entire scenario. There are those that I enjoy just as much today as I did back then while hearing smaller minds scoff at them.

There are some classics that in the mist of tipping a few tacky meters -just have to be revisited and appreciated. How can you not love the jaw dropping wonder of a classic twist or ending? As a writer I do my best to avoid exclamation marks but there’s no way to properly express the following spoilers without animated written expletive.

Charlton Heston finds the Statue of Liberty and realizes he’s been on the earth the whole time. What?! Soylent Green is made out of people? You gotta be kidding me!!

Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s dad! How’s that work? Bruce Willis has been dead through the whole film and he doesn’t know it! Good-googly-moogly!!!

The Return of the Classic.

In 1985, Coke was starting to loose the cola war to Pepsi so they ditched the original for something a little more marketable. The outcry that followed was so incredible they halted production the same week they released it on the public. Twenty-three years later we can see a revival of classic things from movie remakes to the return of the American muscle car. Most of us love classic things.

The Brewer subscribes to Classic Christianity. You know the kind that says it’s not about your history but all about your destiny. A return of Spirit-breathed living that is focused around a real life, resurrected, everything changer. The hope for Heaven yes but the pursuit of abundant life like only the guy who has slapped death in the face can offer.

I think the original Classic Christianity is totally fixated on the intimate personal on-going encounter with the King of the Universe and the result is a never ending transformation into better and better and better. Oh how the Brewer loves to gulp on that! There’s another one of those exclamation marks I am not supposed to be printing.

Anyway, Classic Christianity says I have a problem and Christ is the solution. Classic Christianity also says through Him, I cease to be the problem and play a vital role in carrying out the solution. There are just so many things I love about this incredible journey of living life naturally supernatural.

Sadly, a lot of people think a return to classic Christianity would be a return to past methods and techniques. There are those among us that really believe living a Godly Christian life means to lock in on a lifestyle of a certain era of time. This kind of accepted wisdom spills over into the ideas of dress, language and the official size and conduct of a church service. The Brewer humbly submits such thinking, while well intentioned towards an attempt at holiness, comes from a demonic spirit called stupid. Something we have always struggled with.

It is the nature of an unredeemed mind to always be looking back. Jesus mentioned this when he spoke on ‘Lot’s wife’ and even He didn’t know her by name -that’s probably not good. I am not saying we should lock arms with the world, I am just saying that we should be free to go farther and dream a different dream than others before us.

Dave Crone from the Mission in Vacaville California says the Pharisees were the dream killers of Jesus’s day and he’s exactly right. If you see somebody today, thumping a Bible the same way we did a long time ago and doing everything within his power to put you in a religious box, know that he is the same kind of person who nailed Jesus to a board and hung him up naked. For your sake, run from him, for our sake run him over.

While I believe without apology that the church of Jesus Christ is the only boat afloat, I also believe a lot of us on board don’t understand the heart of the Captain. The Kingdom is progressive. Who knew? His kingdom is without end. There are no limitations and there is no place in the fullness of the world that doesn’t belong to him. Go figure.

As long as people make methods and function the priority of Christianity instead of relationship to God first and to other people 2nd, the greatest threat to a new move of God will always be the last one.

God help us and save us from the futile attempt of doing Christianity. Propel us instead to live the adventure and responsibility of actually being Christians.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Crime And Punishment

I thought about writing a column this week on why I wish Sarah Palin had won the presidential campaign. I know she wasn’t actually running for president but I guarantee you the huge majority of us real conservatives that punched beside John McCain were not voting for him but the Alaskan governor.

Now, (just like the 1970 movie) instead of Sister Sarah we got two democrats headed to the Whitehouse.

God bless our new President and may he be a good one. I really didn’t want to write on politics today.

Jesus Held Hostage
Then I thought about writing on the cheesy statue of Jesus stolen from a Michigan house.

In an apparent case of "doo unto others" a neighborhood spat over dog droppings resulted in a statue of Jesus Christ being stolen from a yard, and a ransom note left in their mailbox.

The Nobel prize-worthy writers of the ransom note stated ,
“We are holding Jesus ransom until you clean up the poopie from your wieners and trust us, we see you take your wieners for long walks w/out picking up their poopie in our yards. This has upset us dearly so please clean up all the wiener poopie, if you want to see Jesus unharmed.”
Only people from Michigan would talk like this. I can hear the writer’s nasally accent like those North Dakota people from the movie “Fargo” so let me translate into Texan.....
“We are all tired of your wieney dogs making our yards a biohazard and will be holding your yard art hostage until you clean up ours.”
– or something like that I think.

Yes I was going to tie into how I think religion holds Jesus hostage. The Yankee verbiage in that ransom note was just too embarrassing to include in my quality column.

These are the confessions of a highly caffeinated Christian and I typically just spout off on what’s perking my front burner. But with so many things going on it’s been hard to lock in on one subject. So after careful review and study of my copious journaled notes, the big theme for the week in my life is Forgiveness. Ta-da! I finally landed on a subject and it only took me 409 words.

A-D-D is a beautiful thing.

Essential service of forgiveness
Unforgiveness is a destiny killer and a misery maker. We have to have forgiveness, not only for our sins and offenses but also in our own hearts for those around us. God is trying to disconnect us from our history while attaching us to our destiny. The Biblical term for this process is called reconciliation followed by restoration, both of which follow forgiveness.

See, for those of us that love the idea of justice, we have to deal with the paradox of forgiveness. God loves justice but justice doesn’t always have to be punishment. He wants justice to result in restoration. I think the relational side of justice is restoration and the un-relational side is punishment. One of the core values in my life is to prefer restoration over punishment. I got this from God.

So if I am going to love justice and would prefer restoration over punishment then I have to condition myself in the art of practicing forgiveness. That’s where the trouble starts. For a guy with a bumper sticker that reads, “Keep honking while I reload,” forgiveness has been a big challenge. However, my robust attempt to wrap my size 7-5/8 hatband around this subject has churned out a significant discovery or two.

For instance, forgiveness is not natural but is an intentional act of faith. It is not a feeling but a choice we make in surrendering to God’s goodness. Forgiveness does not excuse the wrong done to us but rather relinquishes the right for punishment and looks for reconciliation.

I have also noticed that when I judge people its always on their actions while I expect everybody to judge me according to my intentions or circumstances. I fear that anyone would define me by one mistake or even one season in my life while I so easily file human beings into a “bad” category by the same flimsy standard.

While I very much know the need for prisons and am glad for my families sake we have them, I hate prisons. I hate it when a person’s entire life, whether the victim or the perpetrator of the crime, is defined by one act or one season in one’s life. That’s what you see in prisons whether it is a State jail or an emotional trauma. There’s no hope in prison at all, just anger and shame. Enter forgiveness, and things start to change.

So there’s my cup of Jehovah Java for the week. One you probably shouldn’t sip carefully but rather drink deep and let it change your morning to a good one.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008


*Please note: The following article appeared in local newspapers as a prelude to this life-changing event and even though the date has come and gone, we add it here in the archives so you, our readers, can see the impact YOU are having by supporting this valuable ministry. Please make plans now to join us for next years "Monster Outreach" as we become like the Brewer likes to say, "Jesus with skin on!" Thank you for your continued support of Fresh From The Brewer." Blessings BIG TIME! Steve A.


If you happen to be driving by the Joshua High school this Saturday around lunch time you will see what looks like a penned up tornado. A flurry of activity with lines of cars, people carrying boxes and general what-the-heck-is-going-on looks of excitement. No, it’s not a riot or a Hillbilly tractor pull. It’s the annual....

Open Door Ministries - Monster Food Give Away.

Every year we gather as many friends as possible for an enormous demonstration of radical help to those that need it. It’s all fun, all free and all you have to do is come and get it. On a first come first serve basis, we will be giving away at least 75,000 pounds of good groceries this year. We have about 5,000 pounds of fresh produce, free professional haircuts, and a free garage sale with brand new and good used clothes.

Our servers will be serving free hot dog lunches while people wait to sign up. Live music and fun stuff for the kids will be everywhere.

Pastor Andy Dally has worked hard to gather as many good things as he could muster including several pallets of paper goods like name brand name bathroom tissue and household cleaning supplies. Everything in the parking lot goes.

You probably already know it, but Open Door serves as the food bank for Johnson County and this event is good ways to let people know there is ongoing help available.

Our 13th year in operation, we currently provide food and different kinds of help to around 300 families every month plus we supply nearly 40 other local ministries with their food and supplies for the community outreaches they do.

There is a whole other reason why we do this too. We want to influence people for Christ. We want to love on people. We want to hug people, encourage people and pray with people. We want to overcome evil with good. We want to demonstrate God’s love.

This kind of hands-on practical ministry shouldn’t just happen in the big cities and over seas. It can happen right here in our small towns if we set our hearts to do it. The impact it makes is not just measured in the tons of food we give away but in the hope and encouragement seen in the faces of the thousands that come for it.

If you know someone, say an elderly person or a hard working family in need who would be blessed by a carload of help, send them our way. If you want to come out and help us or see for yourself what all the commotion is about, you are more then welcome.

The Bible says in Psalms 41, there is a special blessing for those who consider the poor. I consider it a great privilege to get to be the guy that tells these stories and not just hears about them.

When you do something, whatever that something is, that demonstrates God’ goodness towards other people, you have your own story to tell.
Where: Joshua High School Parking lot, in front of the Library, on Highway 174.
When: Event starts at high noon and will end at 3:00 pm
What do you have to do? Just come. In fact, you might think about coming early for sign-ups as all of this is on a first come, first serve basis.
For more information you can call us at 817-297-6911 or visit us on the world-wide-waste-of time at WWW.OPENDOORMINISTRIES.ORG.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Intruder Alert

We had something exciting happen at the Brewer abode tonight. My fifteen-year-old son, Luke, came into the house just in time to see a thief bailing out the bathroom window. It scared him pretty bad because he was actually in the house alone with the trespasser for a number of minutes and must have walked right past him in the dark. He went to the bathroom when this man wearing all black actually ran past Luke’s bathroom and into another. Luke hurried to the bathroom and saw the bottom of his black Nikes as he bailed through the window.

Luke being wise, didn’t chase after the man, he chased after a gun, loaded it and called the law. Sometime later, a very professional and courteous Johnson County Sheriff’s deputy took the report. Though I am not happy about the incident I am so grateful my son is ok. I am also very grateful he didn’t really get a chance to shoot the intruder because I have taught him to do so and Luke would of done it.

Mercy and Truth

A visiting Pastor from Africa asked me one time what I would do if someone was breaking into my house. I said I would shoot him. He was surprised at my answer and said, “How can you call yourself a Christian if you say you would shoot the intruder?” I said, “Well of course I would pray for him while we waited for the ambulance.

Here’s what’s real. I don’t want to be known as the guy that shoots an intruder. I want to be known for feeding people and helping people. I want to be the Good News giver, the dream weaver, and the hope supplier.

After the police left, my whole family gathered together to thank God for protecting us and to pray for this knucklehead that came to rob us. That God would give him a heart to know Him. That whatever addiction he has in his life would be taken out. That a very real fear would come upon him and he would stop breaking into people’s homes. That God would visit him with a strong visitation and that he wouldn’t get away anymore with what he has gotten away with before. That God would bless him and help him and put good people in his life and a way to live a different life than what he is living now.

We discussed how messed up he must be to go into somebody else’s home to mess around. I would love to see God change this man’s life. What an awesome story that would be. “Let it be Lord,” we all said together.

So, would I shoot this poor soul if I caught him breaking into my house? In a heartbeat.

There are some situations I pray I don’t find myself in. I would much rather be known as the guy that helped and blessed this man than the Preacher who sent him to eternity.

Letter to the Thief

If you are the one that broke into my house and others around Caddo Peak in Joshua, let me tell you it is better to be on the receiving end of a prayer than of a shot gun. Please don’t do it again. What you are doing is wrong and has terrible consequences.

I am committed to pray for you every single day that the hound of heaven chases you down and changes your life from a curse to a blessing. I pray according to Job 33 that you start having dreams and visions that wake you up into reality.

You are so much better than this. You are born for greatness and destiny. Your life is important. You should start to live like it, do something with it. Things are going to change and your career as a house-breaking thief is over. Everything is changing for you now because I am praying for you and I am one of God’s favorites. One way or another it’s all coming to a very quick end so get ready. Poor guy, you had no idea it was a Jesus-Freak you was messing with.

Prayer Request

If you are not in the habit of looting homes, I would ask you to join with me in praying for this guy. Let’s join together and see this life changed. Here’s a model for the kind of prayer we are all praying.

Get Him God. Bring him to a place of repentance where he never robs again or have him arrested where he never can rob again. Protect people from him and let none of his evil intentions come to pass. Get him good, God. Help him to seek you and to find you. Fix what’s messed up in his life. Cover him with your goodness. Bless him. Don’t let him get away with anything but still protect him and have mercy on him. Let your light shine into his darkness in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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