Friday, August 27, 2010

We all need favor

In the early 1900s, a 16-year-old girl, named Mildred, from Alabama gave birth to a baby girl and named her Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner. As if all those names weren’t enough, she went by the nickname, “Judy.”

Judy’s daddy, John Turner, was a hard working, and hard living, miner from Tennessee who had a knack for gambling. Hard times eventually forced the family to relocate to San Francisco, but things weren’t any better on the west coast — John and Mildred soon separated.

John’s lack of work didn’t keep him from playing cards, and on December 14, 1930, he won a bit of money from some traveling gamblers.

“I’m gonna go buy my little girl a bicycle,” he said, holding up his wad of cash before stuffing it into his left sock. Before he left the table and hit the streets, the other gamblers took note of where he stashed the money.

Several hours later, John Turner was found dead on the edge of the Mission District in San Francisco — his left sock was missing, and the robbery and murder were never solved.

Judy, who was 9 at the time, was devastated. Mildred got sick and was advised by her doctor to move to a drier climate. So, one year later Mildred and Judy moved to Los Angeles.

Six years later, Judy was a sophomore at Hollywood High School. She decided to skip a typing class and headed to a drug store, where she sat at the counter drinking a Coke. She didn’t know it, but her life was about to change drastically — she had just entered, “the favor zone.”

As she sat at the counter, she caught the eye of the publisher for the Hollywood Reporter. He leaned over, introduced himself and said those famous words, “How’d you like to be in pictures?”

Several weeks latter she was connected with famous movie director Mervyn LeRoy, and he cast her in the first of her many great films. It prophetically was titled, “A Star is Born.” Melvyn changed Judy’s name to Lana Turner and, well, you may have heard of her.

The ability to get noticed and promoted into really cool places is something we Christians call “favor.” Brother Webster, the guy who wrote the dictionary, defines favor as, “approving consideration or attention.” Another understanding of favor could be “good will, acceptance, and the benefits flowing from these.”

The Brewer would define favor as the process of getting noticed and getting promoted.

This week’s confession from a highly caffeinated Christian comes flavored with favor.
You need favor. I need favor. We all need favor.

Did you know there were only 200 million people on the entire planet at the time of Christ? Today there are more than 300 million in the United States alone. More than 6 billion people are walking around right now, and scientist’s say that’s more people than have ever lived before us.

It’s hard to get noticed and promoted when every day is like the busiest day at Disney World. Sip on this and savor the thought, God sees you.

A little bit of favor goes a long way and contrary to the gospel according to Brooks and Dunn, God is not too busy. Not only do I believe God sees you, but I also believe He would love to call you his favorite.

We live in a very messed up world, but somehow God is perfectly right there in the midst. God’s presence is everywhere but his manifest presence is not. When you need Him to show up on your behalf, there’s a certain protocol for the King to arrive. It’s not about traditional religious ritual, it’s about the condition of your heart and how you position yourself.

You may have heard it said that God is no respecter of persons, but I promise you, He will favor certain people and things more than others. All you have to do to be God’s favorite is to walk in what God favors. When you walk in what God favors, you are in “the favor zone.”

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." — Galatians 5:22 & 23

The Brewer pastors Open Door Ministries near Joshua, and can be found on the Web at

Friday, August 20, 2010

Spartans, Texans and Warrior Kings

Almost 500 years before Christ, a Spartan army of only 300 men stood against a million or so Persians at a place called Thermopylae. The Brewer isn’t a particularly a big fan of ancient Spartans — besides destroying the fair city my mama named me after with a stinking wooden horse, they were also known to be racist and pagans who had no mercy for anyone. With that said, the Texan in me can’t help but love the astonishing quality of warriors they produced.

The king who is famous for Sparta’s military miracle was a guy by the name of Leonidas. What I love about king Leonidas is he wasn’t just a king, he was a warrior King. He didn’t sit on a golden thrown and order men to fight. He fought in front of all his men and invited them to fight beside him. I love the whole idea of a warrior king.

About 200 years later, another warrior king rose from the same part of the world — but this one would be remembered as “Great.” Alexander conquered the known world not for a righteous reason but just because he wanted to. Before it was over, millions would be dead and many more hurting because of Alexander’s ambition of conquest. Though I don’t much care for his empire any more than the Spartans, I can’t help but love the fact Alexander was a warrior king.

After Alexander and his army turned south on the Indus River, they encountered a warlike clan called the Mali. After building siege weapons and ladders, Alexander’s army attacked the walled city — and Alexander was the first over the walls. He was so far ahead of the rest of his men that he engaged the entire army by himself while his men scrambled to keep up. With an arrow piercing his chest and his lung and a sword in his hand Alexander the Great fought hand-to-hand combat until his men were able to subdue the enemy. I love a warrior king.

Almost 2,300 years later on holy ground that would be called Texas, a general with a righteous cause, raced across the San Jacinto battlefield. Though vastly outnumbered and in broad day light, Sam Houston was so far ahead of the rest of his men that he drew all the fire of the Mexican dictator’s troops. Having two horses shot out from under him, Houston limped towards the enemy with pointed sword yelling, “Remember the Alamo, Remember Goliad!”

Sam Houston would soon become the president of the nation of Texas. Though he was a political leader he was also a proven warrior. I love a warrior king.

Being a fairly famous Jesus freak with an ever-growing popularity, I get a lot of letters and e-mail. Most of them cuss me but there are more and more asking me what denomination or nondenominational group I subscribe to.

I am for whatever in Christianity is wimp free.

Sign me up with the Christians who have the guts to be Christians in a day where men act more like women than men. Show me Christians who are not just talking about the love of God, but who are demonstrating it through the hard work it takes to make a difference in somebody’s life. Put me in line with the people who are living proof that God never consults your history before giving you a future.

Real Christians don’t just serve a King. They serve a passionate, warrior King — and those of us who follow Him live a lifetime of learning how to get out of His way and let Him fight like He wants to. Not only is Christ not scared of the battles you and I face, He actually gets excited about the prospect of another glorious scrap. That’s the way our King is, and He is unlike any we have ever seen before. He’s compassionate, ready to serve, approachable and full of mercy, but make no mistake about it — He is a warrior King.

“The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” — Exodus 15:3

Troy pastors Open Door Ministries near Joshua and can be found at

Friday, August 13, 2010


We all know that in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. But did you know that at the same time he was leaving Spain to find the new world, thousands of Jewish families were leaving Spain to save their lives? On March first 1492 they were kicked out by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain ordering the expulsion of everybody jewish from Spain and its territories by July 31st of that year. From that day forward it was illegal to be a Jew and live in Spain and the law was called the Alhambra Decree. What is even more amazing to me, is the edict was not formally revoked by the Vatican council until December 16th, 1968. Let me say that again, 1968! Something I plan to take up with the Pope when I visit Rome this year.


470 years later the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, was interrupted by an event that would be known as the Munich massacre. Members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually murdered by a Muslim terrorist group backed by Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. By the end of the ordeal, the terrorists had killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches and 1 West German police officer. Five of the eight terrorists were killed by police officers during a botched rescue attempt. The three surviving terrorists were captured, but later released by limp wristed West Germany following the hijacking of a Lufthansa airliner.

The bodies of the five terrorists killed during the gun battle were delivered to Libya, where they received heroes’ funerals and were buried with full military honors. As Muslim nations throughout the world celebrated the murder of the innocent athletes, King Hussein of Jordan — the only leader of an Arab country to publicly denounce the Olympic attack — called it a "savage crime against civilization… perpetrated by sick minds."

It was an unspeakable injustice.


Twenty years later, the 1992 Summer Olympics was held in Barcelona Spain. In contrast to the failures of West Germany, Spain had it’s act together. As expected, it was really an amazing event that you will probably remember if you were around and coherent back in 92. That was the year the “Dream Team” played basketball. The Line up and gold medal winners included names like David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson and even Michael Jordan himself.

It was the year that Dereck Redmond tore his hamstring during the 400 yard sprint. He hobbled to a halt, and then fell to the ground. Stretcher bearers made their way over to him, but Redmond decided he wanted to finish the race and he jumped up on his left leg. He began to hobble along the track, when his Dad, Jim Redmond, barged past security and helped his son move forward. Jim and Derek completed the lap of the track together, with Derek leaning on his father's shoulder for support. As they crossed the finish line, the 65,000 crowd rose to give Derek a standing ovation. Remember?

The United States won 108 medals that summer and the nation of Israel, well the nation of Israel won 2, but they were bigger winners than you might think.

See, this was the 20th anniversary of the Munich massacre where Muslims murdered Jews at the olympics. This was also the 500th anniversary of the Alhambra Decree, where Spanish Catholics murdered and cast out Jews for over 450 years. And this was the olympics in Spain. It was at this event, in this location and on these anniversaries that Israel won its very first Olympic medal.

Yael Arad became the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal. She took the silver in, of all things, Judo. The next day, Oren Smadja became Israel's first male medalist, winning a bronze in the same sport.

I think this says something about taking the fight back to the place where you have been defeated. By the grace of God, all of us eventually find our selves on the winning platform in the very places where we have been hatted if we will just keep fighting. Know that God sees you today my friends, and know that if you will keep fighting, by the grace of God, the day will come your enemies will see you blessed.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalms 23:5

Troy pastors Open Door Ministries near Joshua and can be found at

Friday, August 6, 2010

Eating Grass

Some people have the gut of a Billy Goat. The Brewer has historically been one of those people. Besides being a highly caffeinated Christian, it is a fact that I tend to over eat. I am trying hard to loose weight these days but I am a long way from being able to wear a belt buckle. When I do, it tends to turn over and disappear between my bladder and kidneys. It’s sad because I have to wear a belt now that I am older. If I don’t, what should be around my waist ends up south of my ankles.

My six-pack has turned into a keg but its not because I have a beer belly…it’s more like a chicken coop. Pray for me. Really I am working out every day again now and should have some kind of praise report about my weight loss soon but really I need a lot of prayer.

When it comes to food, not only do I not care what it is, (besides black liquorish or Rye bread) but I don’t really care how it’s cooked either. Like “Bubba” from the movie Forest Gump, I’ll eat it boiled, fried, baked, sautĂ©ed, grilled, en flambĂ© etc., etc. I have eaten locusts in Uganda, monkey in Rwanda and a batter dipped, deep friend candy bar in Scotland. I have eaten things completely unrecognizable in India and something that looked back at me from a soup bowl in Costa Rica.

I proverbially have to eat crow often and have been known to insert my foot into my mouth on frequent occasion. Again, pray for me.

About five years back, I was on the Rio Ranchito near the YO Ranch in Kerrville, TX. I had gone on a “radical sabbatical” with a ministry called Fellowship of the Sword. A brother on staff there gave a testimony of how he had adopted five little girls from Russia. His eyes lit up like a blowtorch when he spoke of them.

Quite often his family likes to go to a little Italian joint near their house and not really for the spaghetti but because of the homemade vinaigrette. Being Russian born children they love salad and fruit so the local restaurant with the homemade dressing has become some kind of a staple for them.

While chowing down, one of the girls casually stated that her salad tasted like the grass in Russia. He thought it was a funny thing to say and asked her if she had fallen down and tasted grass. Over the next few minutes his daughter began to open up and relate that a big part of being an orphan in Russia was learning to cope with starvation.

In her tiny little voice she recalled that she and the other little girls would sneak out of the orphanage at night to eat grass in the fields. They were so hungry one Christmas that they had actually eaten the green off of the Christmas tree.
All of his daughters had stories of the things they had eaten while they were starving and helpless. This Mom and Dad sat crying as they patiently listened to each story and shook their heads in recognition. Their daughters are safe now, but there was a long period in their lives when they had eaten grass just to survive.

Over the next few months the Lord did a work in my new friends life in that he decided as a Dad, his family would never eat grass again, naturally or figuratively. He said “It made me wonder how many times has my wife needed my encouragement, my love, my affection but because I was tired or mad I refused to feed her.”

I sat listening to him and it made me afraid that at times I have emotionally and spiritually forced my family to “eat grass”. My wife and kids have never starved for food, but there have been times when I should have fed them as the man I am supposed to be and didn’t do it. One more time, pray for me.

I came home and repented to my kids and said, “I am sorry for the times you should have been fed but were forced to eat grass.”

My thirteen year old boy at the time didn’t understand what I was saying and tried to encourage me by saying “Dad, it’s OK, I eat grass just because I like it.” Yes, he’s a little savage, but I’m proud of him.

Parents - don’t make your families eat grass. Give them what they need.

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8 NIV

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