Monday, April 20, 2009

Aint Skeerd

1966 was a banner year. Yes, it was the year we lost Walt Disney but it was also the year we gained me. My glorious entrance as a sixth generation Texan fell upon the 66th year of the twentieth century but there was probably some other news too.

We learned a lot in ‘66. We learned we had the right to remain silent as the Miranda Law was passed. We learned to fill out forms when Medicare kicked in. Frank Sinatra informed us he did it his way and won the Grammy. We learned women’s lib would go way too far when The Sound of Music got the Oscar.

Speaking of movies, one of the worlds cinematic wonders of achievement was released in that same year. You will remember it well and the impact it made on your life. It was called,” The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” starring Don Knotts.

Ok, maybe it didn’t do much for you, and no, it was not a biography on Bo Pilgrim’s Christian journey. But I loved it and looked for the elusive rerun in those pre-VCR dark ages.

I was somewhat of a chicken myself. Scared of the dark, my great grandfather had told me of a creature he called raw head and bloody bones that lived out there somewhere. I could hear him on my heels every time I ran down to my Papa’s house. The other big scare I had was really two things. One of which was heights. I loved to climb trees but after getting just a few feet up I would become paralyzed and start screaming for my rescue. “Help!” I would cry in my five year old hillbilly accent. “I’m a long ways from down!”

The other really big scare I had was not of spooks or the discontented souls of dead Confederate soldiers - I was scared of God. Totally terrified that one day I would run around a corner and see God face-to-face. I kinda felt like He was always watching me and I figured I would be in big trouble if He ever caught up with me.

While I never got over my terrible fear of heights I did get over my fear of God.

Today I look for him in every situation I am involved in. His presence is the highlight of my mornings and the fuel of my day. I no longer hope He doesn’t show up. I pray He does and I am not satisfied with his omnipresence, I am looking for His manifest presence. As a Christian, I believe one of these days I will see him eye-to-eye and face-to-face. After he picks me up from off the floor, I’ve get the biggest bear hug imaginable coming to me.

I think God is the most wonderful person in the universe. Conquering my fear of Him and overcoming the lie that He is out to get me is the one of the most revolutionary achievements of my life.

Now I know the Good Book talks about the fear of the Lord being healthy. The book of Proverbs says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but it’s not talking about being terrified of relationship. The Biblical expression here really means proper alignment. In other words, to love what God loves and to hate what God hates - literally to get with His program.

You tap into the fear of the Lord because you are blown away at His majesty and nature.

Graham Cooke says His majesty is how He rules and his nature is how He acts. To me, it’s a lot like a magnified version of how you look at Niagara Falls or Grand Canyon, only this one actually made the universe and wants to personally speak with you, and actually sit down and eat with you.

As C.S. Lewis describes it, the Biblical term fear of the Lord means to be “…filled with awe, in which you "feel wonder and a certain shrinking". In Johnson County terms he means it’s a right perspective of how awesome God is.

So may we all get a healthy dose of God’s greatness and in so doing see how small our issues, burdens and needs really are. When was the last time you’ve been slack-jawed or tapped into the fear of the Lord? As the ranch hand on the Wolf Brand Chili commercials used to say…’Well neighbor, that’s too long.’

“Happy the soul that has been awed by a view of God's majesty, that has had a vision of God's awful greatness, His ineffable holiness, His perfect righteousness, His irresistible power, His sovereign grace...” A.W. Pink

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Friday, April 17, 2009


My sixteen year old is sadly addicted to dramatic love stories. She is the Chick Flick Queen of the Brewer household and quite often I get pulled into two gut wrenching hours of her theatrical showground. It all starts with her saying “Daddy, you have to watch a movie with me tonight”, and before I know it I have set through 120 minutes of love lost, romantic tears and passionate pursuit.

It always ends up with us talking about what’s real and how selfishness makes a five minute story into a two hour drama but it’s her night and I don’t want to ruin it. In just a few years from now she won’t be in my arms any more and I want to redeem the time I still have with her as my little girl.

But know this, through the entire duration I quietly pray the Lord Jesus would send just one healthy hand grenade into the movie. I privately envision John Rambo swinging onto the set of The Way We Were or even John Bulishi yelling “food fight!” right in the middle of Terms of Endearment. Instead of female banter I hear Lucky Ned Pepper say, “Well Rooster will you give us the road?’ and John Wayne replies, “I aim to kill you in one minute, Ned, or hang you at Judge Parkers convenience, which will it be?”


However, sometimes I am really surprised. In fact every so often a DVD goes into my collection instead of back to the rental place. I hate to admit it but I have learned there are some chick-flicks that are in fact great movies. Legends of the Fall, Father of the Bride, Always and P.S. I Love You, are some of my favorites.

It just makes my day when I think I am going to hate a movie and end up loving it.

I really enjoy surprises in life, especially when it relates to better things. Unexpected blessings always get my attention.

As a Christian, I get to be ridiculously optimistic all the time. I mean when you follow, and are in filled with the Spirit of a guy that slapped death in the face, it’s hard not to have confidence. The magnitude of attitude can’t be underestimated but I am often stunned and caught off guard with things way better than what I thought they would be.

What happened last week takes the cake.


For more than ten years my ministry team has been committed to reaching the families who work in the dumps of Matamoros, Mexico. Most of them victims of outrageous interest rates and loan scams, they are forced to mine mountains of filth for any form of value.

The dump was controlled by the Mexican Mafia or Cartel and the only choice these families had was to pay the money they didn’t have, prostitute the women to border brothels or work everyday as a group in the worst environment imaginable. Slavery did not end when Lincoln was President.

Over the years we have actually bought whole families, redeeming them and setting them free. In more than eighty trips, we have seen the farthest extremes of both victory and defeat. 12 years ago I looked down and saw what I thought was a doll and was shocked to see it was a newborn baby boy only hours old. He barely survived but lives today as a happy kid in the orphanage we support down there. The brother of the Pastor we support who works there everyday was shot in the head and murdered in that dump. There have been a lot of blood sweat and tears invested there because we love those people so much and have a desperate hatred for their slavery. More than 1500 people, less than ten miles from Texas, with no hope to ever leave such a terrible place.

Imagine my shock when I drove into the dump last Friday and no one was there.

The Mexican Military is at war with the drug Cartels right now and through several gun battles, actually killed the main overlords of the trash dump. The rest of them have either fled to Texas or are in hiding somewhere in Mexico. In an unprecedented act of Jubilee, everyone who owed money was actually set free and sent home to where they lived before coming to the border.

We found about sixty people living in the village because their homes are there but not slaving as they had before. They told us what had happened and we just stood there and wept. Its one of the greatest miracles I have ever seen. I never thought I would see it happen in my life time but I saw it last Friday with my own two eyes.

People being set free from tyrannical hopelessness and despair. Free to live life more abundantly and to dream again. It reminds of a story I heard about this man named Jesus and what He did for everyone who believes in Him.

John 8:36
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009


Topics of interest are like coins on the ground to me. I just can’t pass one over without having to pick it up. You would too if you had a newspaper column to write every week, two sermons and guidance teachings mixed with funerals and weddings, corporate leadership training and conferences. Not that I am complaining, it’s just something I have to be intentional about. In fact, what would be a drag to a lot of people turns out to be life to me. Jesus said that His food was to do the will of the father and so it is when people tap into their destiny -which is what God designed us for. When you are doing what you are designed to do, what burns out everybody else keeps your pistons turning in fifth gear. It’s a Kingdom principle of destiny.

Consequently I love being a sponge for both useless and life changing information. I get a big kick out of funny things tied to profound wisdom and even explanation for things that we tend to take for granted.

Saved by the Bell

For instance, you heard the term saved by the bell and probably think it belongs entirely to boxing. However, in 18th century England it is said they started running out of places to bury people. Consequently, people would dig up coffins and take the bones to a “bone-house” and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, they found a certain percentage of those coffins would have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. Nobody ever said these guys were the smartest in the world. The plague from a hundred years earlier had caused quick burials and sometimes way too quick. So the clergy decreed that they should tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.

Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night long, still known today as the graveyard shift, to listen for the bell. Thus, someone could be 'saved by the bell' Also they could be a 'dead ringer.'

But as fun as it is to bring explanation to even silly things, I also think it is just as fun to not be able to explain some things. I find revelation that defies explanation absolutely irresistible. I love a life that can’t be defined in every way.

An Unexplainable life

While I am no celebrity I am in the public eye so it makes since that I would get letters and emails challenging me on theological issues. I get what I call “grate mail” sometimes, demanding an explanation for what they think are biblical inconsistencies or historical errors. Lots of them are Da Vinci code fans who don’t understand Dan Brown’s novel is a work of fiction. Others are really smart people who want to get into a Biblical spitting contest with me, mostly because in all of their wisdom they are not smart enough to do their own ministry so they spend their days criticizing others.

The bottom line is that the Brewer does not feel like I need to explain everything. I’ll be happy to explain why I have so much hope. The Bible says I’m supposed to this so I am loaded for bear when it comes to issues of hope. I’ll be thrilled to explain why I love life so much. I would love to tell you testimonies of healings and lives radically changed but when it comes to a logical explanation for everything, I just don’t have it. Nor do I feel like I need to waste my time with it.

There are things going on in my life right now I can’t articulate. There are things that have happened which defy explanation. There are things I am doing right now, I can’t really tell you why except that it is a God thing. Living a progressive walk in Christ and loving life passionately will constantly have you in unexplainable areas. So while I am determined its ok to have some of those areas, I also feel like its ok not to apologize for it. You should too.

Just get out there and get into it. You can figure it all out after the experience is over.

True revelation does not precede encounter. The God kind of knowing comes from personal encounter not black ink on a white page. I think if the only walk you have with God is a cerebral walk, I can guarantee it’s a shallow one.

The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?

Proverbs 20:24 NLT