Monday, February 23, 2009

Tribute to Whiz-Bang

The horrors of war can sometimes produce oddly funny things that influence the culture. Things like “Kilroy was here” from WWII or the phrase “It don’t mean nothin’” from Vietnam. There of course is also the nickname Whiz-Bang from WWI. Now since you and I are not old enough to remember World War One, you might not know what a Whiz-Bang was.

The Doughboys who made it back, knew a Whiz -Bang was a type of German artillery shell you tried to avoid. It whizzed through the air and went bang when it hit. That’s not the one I want to give tribute to.


There is also the Readers Digest sized magazine, which was found everywhere in Texas throughout the 1920’s and 30’s known famously as Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang.

While oil patches went up everywhere, young Texas men read through the pages of Whiz-Bang with black stained hands. The publisher in 1921 posted a poem called “Shoo Fly, Oil Man” that was clearly targeted towards its oil field readers.

A horse-fly lit on the old cow’s skin,

Hung his tools and spudded in.

Bowed his back and jiggered his pole

And all the time he was making a hole.

The cow browsed on, in her usual way,

Till the horse-fly’s bit struck regular “pay.”

Then she swung her tail with a vicious dig

And deftly skidded the horse-fly’s rig.

Texas Tales writer Mike Cox says the same publisher went on to start True West Magazine and ended up making a mint. A far cry from Captain Billy’s Whiz-Bang.


Most everybody in my family has nicknames. Even the Brewer was not called by the common name of the ancient city duped by a wooden horse. Troy is my first name. I was simply called the horse or Hoss as my grandfather referred to me.

My poor little sister will never be called by her dignified name of Christen Appelgate. She will forever be known as Gertie Mae Soap Jack. That’s what we called her when she was little. Now approaching 40, even her husband calls her “Gert”. We tend to take nicknames seriously in our family.

So the Whiz-Bang I want to give tribute to is not an artillery shell or a folkish periodical.

Whiz-bang is the nickname of my oldest daughter Maegan.

Meagan Brewer is the tall, 22 year old beautiful blond you might see hanging out with me sometimes. I don’t get to see her near as a much as I would like to because she works full time and goes to school full time in pursuit of becoming a registered nurse.

The point of this week’s confession from a highly caffeinated Christian is to honor a little girl who has grown up faster than I can imagine. I can’t imagine how less rich my life would have been without my Whiz-Bang in it. Just yesterday she was a funny little girl who really loved her daddy. Somehow today she woke up to become a hard working, self-motivated, stunningly beautiful and brilliant Godly woman.

I think God for you Maegan and appreciate you not being mad for publicly calling you Whiz-bang. Thank you for loving the Lord and for loving me so much. Thank you for being the kind of person who can be blessed and for making it look easy to be such a blessing to so many others.

Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

Proverbs 31: 29-30

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Changing Your Tune

Before Marco Polo was a game kids played in the swimming pool, he was a man who explored the world by developing new trade routes for European interests. He brought back amazing things from Asia…things that changed everything.

One of those things was a sand flea and in it was a sickness scientist would later name Yersinia pestis. The world would call it Black Death, the Bubonic Plague. Within one hundred years of Marco Polo’s trip, over 75 million Europeans would be dead reducing the population by nearly 50%. As they piled dead bodies to burn in places like Black Heath near London, flower holding and wreath bearing funeral attendees would sometimes faint from the terrible grief of such a sight. Street children began singing the anthem of that awful time of change and we still hear it today.
Ring around the Rosies
Pocket full of Posies
ashes, ashes we all fall down.
And the Band Played On
In our own history there have many times where everything changed. Not just the slow, gradual, non-stopping change of advancement and decline. I am referring more to the difference between September 10th & September 12th 2001. You know how to fill in that terrible blank and you know how everything quickly altered.

A paradigm shift and a pendulum swing. It happens and when it does it can’t be ignored or denied. The difference between the 50’s and 60’s was a lot like that. Some kind of a radical shift in culture, economy, communication and entertainment drastically swept through our country a lot like how the plague swept through Europe. It was something you could see the effects of everywhere but couldn’t figure out what was causing it.

Songwriter Charlie Daniels once wrote, “The fifties left town on a crowded dance floor and the sixties came in with a bang and a roar.” By the end of 1959, Elvis had been drafted, Carl Perkins had broken his neck in a car crash, Jerry Lee Lewis had married his 13-year-old cousin and Buddy Holly’s broken glasses lay in field near Clear Lake Iowa.

Within five years of ’59, JFK would be dead, the Vietnam War would be underway, prayer would be taken out of schools and the Ku Klux Klan would be burning crosses on national TV.

The mess and the heartache of the sixties inspired a song writer named Don Mclean to write an anthem for those changing times. The folk-rock song “American Pie” first hit the airwaves in 1971. Eight minutes and thirty three seconds later, it was a number one hit making Mclean a millionaire over night. We have all sang the song of that generation.

So bye-bye, Miss American pie.
drove my Chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey
and rye
singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die."

One Hit Wonder
We live in such a day of dramatic change. Like a dream where you try to run but cant because your feet get bogged down, a lot of us fear being able to move forward in such shifting times. The economy, housing market and general stability of all things money related, change as fast as the gas prices do at the pump these days. People wonder what will happen. People wonder how to hope.

It is my privilege to bring you the Good News. I think you are perfect for this day. God could have had you born anywhere at anytime yet He has trusted you with this time. What an Honor!

I refuse to sing, “That’ll be the day” as they did in the fifties. I wont be singing “This’ll be the day” as they did in seventies. I want to have a different song then the world around me does. You and I are not called to live powerless lives and I refuse to. I think Jesus Christ himself gives me the ability and the mandate to live in an opposite spirit than my generation lives. Call me crazy but my spirit-filled prayer for you comes brewing with anticipation for God’s goodness.

Changing Your Tune
If you’re an employer, I pray that you will be hiring while everybody is laying people off. If you’re an employee, I pray you get promoted while everybody else is looking for work.
If you have already been axed, I pray that you get noticed and the favor of the Lord causes you to have choices in where you want to work at. I think this is a year of fruit bearing. I think God has called you to joyous success in a day of miserable failure.

Don’t line up with the naysayers. Don’t partner with the enemy in what you say or how you think. This is a great day to be alive. Change your tune and put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and have courage, have courage, Have courage!

He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the LORD.
Psalms 40:3 NLT

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Get ‘er Done

In the day that Moses lived, the world was a completely different place. Egypt was just learning how to make transparent glass and a city called Troy was being fooled by a wooden horse. Right here in Texas a bunch of Caddo Indians formed a confederacy to establish an agricultural based civilization in the big thicket. Meanwhile, corn farmers settled near Presidio, in the desert of Big Bend, establishing what would be the oldest continuously cultivated farmland in Texas. Some 3500 years of plowing, planting and picking goes on today.

That feller Moses left his mark on the world. He’s been a hero to many people for many centuries and I want to tell you why he’s my mine. I love how he talked with God face to face. I love how he confronted Pharaoh and demanded an end to four hundred years of slavery. I love how he parted the waters and cross the red sea on dry land but none of those things put him on the Brewer’s top ten list of amazing Biblical people.

There is one thing about Moses which makes him stand out and makes me want to stand up and applaud; but it is easily overlooked. While it seems less spectacular, it’s just as supernatural. The Bible says in lots of places (Heb. 8:5; Acts 7:44; Ex. 25:9 Ex. 26:30; Num. 8:4.) this amazing statement….Moses built the tabernacle according to the plan that was shown him on the mountain.

This might not seem like a big deal to you, but it is to me. The brother could carry out the plan. Even though he was surrounded by knuckleheads and had very limited resources, he accomplished his God-given vision. What a man!

I think God tells most of us great things to do all the time but there are very few who actually carry out those plans. Accomplishing vision is a big deal these days.

The King James boys translated 1 PETER 1:13 to say we should “gird up the loins of your mind”. The authorized Brewer version of this verse would say we should “Prepare your mind for action

I think it’s about time a lot of us decided to actually do something. God isn’t asking us to take charge over things. He’s asking us to take action and take responsibility. Accomplishing vision is all about fulfilling Gods heart and if we had more action and fewer committees, opinions and politics, the world would be a better place.

So let the Brewer encourage you to get off your blessed assurance and put action to what’s in your heart to do. I think it’s a year of accelerated advancement and rapid response. What didn’t work before is likely to work now if you’ll just be willing to carry out the plan.

Commit your works (actions) to the LORD, And your thoughts (plans) will be established. (succeed) Proverbs 16:3 (NKJV)