May They Find Us Faithful

Today April, Bella, and I went to a giant yard sale. I guess you could say our hours of watching American Pickers and Antique Roadshow comes in handy from time to time. At this particular yard sale, there was more than your typical clothes and Converse Shoes. There were tables filled with books, gloves, containers, mugs, and more! If you thought of it, they probably had it. There were so many cool items from the past as if a time machine filled with collectibles had exploded in the yard.

I asked the lady taking the money for the items where all these things came from. She told me a family member had just passed away and they were downsizing his estate having lived a very long life.

I walked away thinking about all the things that were laying in the yard. It told a story of a fascinating life once lived. All the collectibles and cool antiques reminded us of how cool this guy must have been. However, as attractive and eye catching as these earthly things are, not one of these items will get you into eternity with Jesus.

You’ve more than likely heard the saying, “You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hurse.” It’s true! But I do believe you can leave foot prints on a heart by living a life that speaks of Christ.

The next generation is watching what we do and what we say. What will they find of us after we’ve gone to Glory? I hope as the singer Steve Green once sang, “They Find Us Faithful”. Faithful to our families, our church, and most of all, to our God.

And if American Pickers or Antique Roadshow ever found something like that, it would be worth more than any money the shows could offer. Let’s not be so concerned with our stuff, but instead, let’s be concentrated on our Savior! #FindUsFaithful

The Church’s New Normal

To every Pastor, Deacon, and Church Leader,

Being tasked with the decision of when the appropriate time to open your church in the post-COVID-19 world can be very difficult. Please know you are being prayed for in your decision making as to when is best for you and your church body. A comment was made to me saying, “Brandon, I just can’t wait for the church to get back to normal.”

I knew what this person meant, but I have to disagree.
Normal does not breed revival.
Normal does not win souls.
Normal does not fill the altars.
Normal does not tug at the heart of the congregate.
Normal does not implore the presence of Heaven here on Earth.
Normal does not usher in the Holy Spirit.

We need the Church to reach a New Normal across the globe.

Before COVID-19, the latest statistics from Gallup said that 6 out 10 churches were declining in attendance in 2020.

Further stats showed, only 12% of Americans claimed to read their bible once a week.

But the New Normal is coming:

During the COVID-19 season,

Facebook Live crashed in the first week due to so many churches sharing the gospel.

According to Gallup, 19% of Americans interviewed between March 28 and April 1 said their faith improved as a result of the crisis.

According to Gallup, 49% of churches in America are experiencing growth in reach, salvations, and online attendance.

I pray that the church of the Living God never goes back to normal, but arrives at a new normal.

Pastor, Deacon, and Church Leaders, let us pray that God will usher in a new era of normal into His people. That we would see a greater unction in the pulpit and more power in the pew. Let us not go back, but go forward in Christ.

Let the New Normal Begin,

Brandon, a broken and messed up Christian

It’s Ok to Put Your Hands Up

“Bella. Put your hands up.”

Whenever April and I notice our daughter fussing in her car seat, jumper, or chair, we usually say those words: “Bella, put your hands up.”

Hoping she will make the connection that by her reaching towards us she communicates she wants to exit from her current situation. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase: “Put your hands up” in an old detective show when they catch the criminal. It’s a signal of surrender. It signifies I’m giving up. I’m not resisting anymore. I’m not running anymore. I’m all yours.

Such is a moving parallel between us and our walk with God. Something I’ve been realizing in my relationship with Christ is in my personal chaos and discomfort I want to conquer my own problems. I want to succeed at my own plans. I want to resist when God wants me to release. This is the war between carnality and the Spirit. What we surrender to we become servants to. When we give into our wants we become a servant to flesh. But when we give into God we become a servant of Him.

So tonight, instead of saying “Bella, put your hands up.” I am going to declare something different.

If you are in depression, put your hands up.
If you are in a storm, put your hands up.
If you are in anxiety, put your hands up.
If you feel lost, alone, unloved, put your hands up.
If you feel like the world is caving in on you, then put your hands up.
If you have been serving your flesh, instead of the spirit, then put your hands up.
If you have been at war with sin and are ready to surrender your life to Christ, then put your hands up.

Folks, when we put our hands up to God we are giving a signal of surrender. As you pray tonight, make the decision to say, “Lord, I’m not resisting you anymore. I’m not running from you anymore. In fact, I’m all yours.”

SignalofSurrender #BibleDevotional #PutYourHandsUp

“The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.” -2 Peter 3:9 (HCSB)

Creating Your FFA Travel Bag

As my wife and I headed to visit her folks for the evening, I quickly packed a travel bag for an over night trip. As I went to grab it, the words FFA on the top brought everything in perspective. FFA has been my literal Travel Bag, because this organization has opened many doors and I’ve carried so many FFA memories through them. It seemed weird, for many of the past years, I’ve spent this very week at the Oklahoma State FFA Convention with thousands of members, Ag Teachers, and sponsors. It felt very strange not attending the convention nor seeing my former state officer teammates at the State Officer Reunion Banquet. To some folks, FFA might sound like a foreign thought, but my experiences in this organization shaped largely who I am today as well as many others. However, although the State FFA Convention is a huge moment in an FFA member’s career, I’ve learned that the FFA is not just an event, it’s a group of people.

A group of people who:

-Advocate for Agriculture
-Serve beyond themselves
-Speak with information, persuasion, and passion
-Build friendships at the local, state, and national levels.
-Prepare for global impact
-Receive quality instruction and education from quality Agricultural Educators
-Learn how to be dependable and responsible
-Equip to be experience career success.
-Will Go the Extra Mile for Others
-Come Together for a Common Good
-Inspire the next generation of leaders
-Witness incredible life changing moments in the show ring, classroom, and of course, in the times spent in the Blue Corduroy Jacket.

These are just some of the things FFA members do. Take it from an Old FFA Has-Been, if you make this organization all about you, your experience will be all about you. But, if you make it all about others, then you’ll find it to be a travel bag of joy. Although convention is not happening, the memories and connections can still happen.
~Pick up a pen and write someone in FFA a positive note.
~Pick up the phone and send someone a positive text.
~Share this post with someone and let them know how much they mean to you.

You’ll be surprised at how big of an impact you will make with just a few small gestures of service. And one day, I hope you will look back at life with your own FFA travel bag, thankful for the memories that made you who you are and the many doors you’ve carried those memories through. I’m sure thankful for the memories, the education, and the friendships. I’m a better person because of all these people. So don’t let anything from stopping you from creating your FFA Travel bag. After all, you may retire the jacket, but as leaders, we must never retire the service. #OKFFA #Convention #TheFFATravelBag #RoadToImpact

During COVID-19 Get Quarantined With God

I have a message that has been burning on my heart that I need to share:

“A burning bush drew Moses, a burning church will draw the world.” -Leonard Ravenhill 🔥🔥

Unprecedented is a word many have been using to describe the COVID-19 virus. A crisis like we have never seen before. God brought my attention to something that was also unprecedented many years ago.

Imagine there has been a crisis going on for 400 years. Your family and relatives have all been affected by it. The crisis has killed generations of your ancestors. You want to do something about it, but feel confined by your own abilities. You make mistakes in this mindset and end up fleeing the country to escape your problems.

Until one day, God gets ahold of your life. And in this moment, an unprecedented thing happens: a burning bush is on fire in front of you, but does not lose its flame or consume anything. You’ve never seen anything like it before.

You see, the person I am referring to is Moses and the Israelites were facing a crisis, not Coronavirus, but the crisis of slavery. In Exodus 3, it says that Moses was a shepherd for his father in law and then one day, God appeared to him through a burning bush just one on one. This Bush was unprecedented for many reasons, but also because it never lost it’s flame.

It was in this moment of quarantine, this moment of isolation, that God revealed to Moses his task, his purpose, and most of all, God revealed Himself as The Great I Am! Once again, it was unprecedented!

This Sunday we saw many churches blazing for God through internet, streaming, and other creative methods. It was Unprecedented! These churches all cried out to God that no matter the circumstances, God was still going to be praised by His people!

In Exodus 3 we saw a blazing bush draw Moses, but I believe truly that if this unprecedented season of revival occurs, that the blazing church of Jesus Christ will in fact draw the world unto Him!

But how do we get there? We must:

  1. Seek the Bush: Are you seeking the presence of God in your daily life?
  2. Get Quarantined with the Gospel: Don’t let anything or anyone get in between your time spent with Jesus. Spend extra time in His Word to hear His Heart.
  3. Blaze as the Bush: Allow God to use you in any outlet possible. Whether it is through Facebook Live, Instagram, calling a friend up. Be the vocal vessel God wants to use in this season to reach more people for His kingdom.

What the Israelites faced was unprecedented. What Moses saw was unprecedented, and what God has in store for His church I believe is truly unprecedented. I have no idea what God has planned during this unprecedented season of our lives. But today, we saw a glimpse of what a blazing church looks like, my prayer however is that we will be like that blazing bush and never lose our flame. #Get

The OYE I Cannot Deny

“I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.” -E.M. Tiffany

When the news came out that the Oklahoma Youth Expo was having to conclude its event early, my phone began to blow up with messages from Ag Teachers, students, and show supporters asking for words of encouragement. As you might imagine, lots of tears and sadness, but if there is one thing that came to mind was the 2nd paragraph of The FFA Creed which I posted above.

…. for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.”

I want to post a statement of encouragement and perspective:
We can all agree that not being able to finish out OYE is indeed an hour of discouragement. Oklahoma Agriculture hurts for you today, but this hour of discouragement should not be our total focus. Let’s back up to the previous statement: “and hold an inborn fondness for those associations…..I cannot deny.”

An association is a group of people who unite for a common purpose. Or in this case, unite behind you.

To all the exhibitors who have to pack up early, ask yourself this question:
“Who helped me get here to OYE?”
“Who has believed in me and invested in my project over and over again?”
“Who can I thank in my support system?”

An inborn fondness is a deep appreciation of esteemed gratitude for someone.

For some this might have been your first time to show at OYE, while others it might be your last time, don’t forget to take some time to thank those in your circle who have fought for this show, invested in your chance to show, and believed in you so much, no matter the issue, the crisis, the outcome, or the hour of discouragement. Perhaps it’s your ag teacher, your parent, the OYE Staff, an extension agent, or someone who came to watch you show.

So much so, that you can look back on your stock show experience and say, I have an inborn fondness, a deep appreciation, for the associations, for the people in my life, that during hours of discouragement, during times of hardship, I cannot deny, I could not be where I am today without them.”

In life, we may not always make it to the top of the mountain, but we can be thankful for the folks who have been there for us through the hills and valleys. #HoursofDiscouragement #ICannotDeny #EMtiffany #OYE #OklahomaYouthExpo #KeepOnKeepingon

The Big “What If” of the Coronavirus

Imagine if we were as passionately concerned about protecting the life of the unborn as we are protecting ourselves from the Coronavirus. How different our world would be.

I’m sure you’ve seen all the news stories and links about the potential risks the Coronavirus poses to us. However, the stories have been disputed by health experts as exaggerated or hyperbolic in nature. These things happen when we get into panic mode and realize the uncertainty of the situation. For example, some stores have limited how many toilet paper rolls a customer can purchase at one given time and even one report said that securities guards were assigned to a super market to prevent fighting over medical supplies. It’s easy to take something we don’t fully understand and go into crisis mode because we don’t grasp the right picture.
Now, it is true the virus has taken lives, but not in the magnitude that we as a society have reacted to. But as much panicked effort and world wide attention as we are giving this virus, I want you to imagine a big question: “What if?”

What if we gave this much concern and attention to issues around us that don’t just a pose a potential threat, but are already doing their damage.

What if we devoted this much concern and attention to issues like abortion, where millions of unborn children are killed in the name of choice?

What if we devoted this much concern and attention to issues like voter apathy, where lots of votes never get cast to the ballot box because of lack of interest?

What if we committed this much concern and attention to issues like Agricultural Literacy, where many of Americans already admit they don’t know where there food comes from.

What if we dedicated this much concern and attention to the Gospel and helped others deal with the spiritual disease of sin?

I could go on and on, but the truth is we as Americans face a much bigger a disease than the Coronavirus. This disease is suffocating our freedom and our kids are watching. This disease is called inaction. When we sit by idle as kids are being murdered, the wrong people are getting elected, a population becomes Ag illiterate, and folks are heading to hell due to their sin, this disease of inaction gives birth to a status quo well beneath our nation’s potential and level of greatness.

Yes, we should take the Coronavirus seriously, but we need to take these other issues even more seriously. Science has proven that the human race can recover from the Coronavirus, but my fear is if we don’t give the same attention and concern to these other issues, we will still lose. Even though we will recover from the virus, we could still be dying to a disease, the disease of inaction. #Coronavirus #BrandonForTheBallot #BaumgartenForSenate #FightingForTheFuture

Free Stuff For Freedom

When the founders of our country envisioned America, they envisioned a land of freedom. But somewhere down the road we have turned “land of freedom” into the “land of free stuff”.
For example, last night during the Democratic Presidential Debate you heard things offered such as:

-Free Healthcare

-Free Tuition

-Free Childcare

-Free Subsidies

-The list of free stuff offered goes on and on.

But will the American people compromise their personal freedoms for personal free stuff?
If you look up the word freedom in the dictionary it says, “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”

The truth is freedom is never free. It has always come with a cost. Or in this case, an undetermined, but financially strapping cost. The candidates know that if they promise enough free stuff it will get the American people to surrender their power. How? Well someone has to pay for all the free things, and they will tell you the government is paying for it.
However, we must firmly recognize that there is no such thing as government funded, without it first being taxpayer funded. The democracy of government is both powerless financially and structurally without the voice and the wallet of the taxpayer. By accepting the offers of these free things we are giving the government control. I doubt our founders wanted our country to be known as the land of free stuff, but with so many candidates offering so much, the questions at large are:

Will we trade our freedom for free stuff? Will we give up our power for possessions? Will we say no to the democratic socialists and say our freedoms are not for sale? Answer these questions wisely, because the future of America’s republic rests on our response. #FreeStuffForFreedom #Debate

I am Agravatted. Emphasis on AG.

Dear Mike Bloomberg,

I am aggravated. Aggravated with your recent comments. The ones dealing with the first two letters of that very word: Ag. You recently said that it would not take much gray matter to be a farmer. As I’m sure you know, your comments created an uproar of reactions from across the country and thus, a significant reason why I am addressing you.

Agriculture is the backbone of this country. Without the food and fiber industry, we could not function. Imagine going to a restaurant, but there is no food to order. Imagine going to the clothing store, only to find there are no clothes available. Imagine all the items that are considered “Ag” products and what our country would look like. You might think this a hyperbolic exercise, but it reveals a daunting truth: without the sweat of the farmer, without the industry of agriculture, without the toil of the soil, our country would in fact be hungry, naked, and afraid because of the consequences of a vanishing Ag industry. You might think that it takes less gray matter in the farming profession, but nothing could be further from the truth. Truly, the cost of innovation is the yielding of change and the effort to think more critically, which I would caution you to do before making these comments.

However, I do not hold you in total responsibility of your comments. Actually, it served as an epiphany for me. Your comments cracked into an underlying problem that we have today. And that problem is: the lack of Ag Literacy. The ugly truth is many folks don’t understand agriculture, where their food comes from, and fail to see the gigantic value of the industry as a whole. The issue is even bigger than you and your campaign sir.

If anything your comments have motivated me as they should motivate every agriculturalist in America. I’m even more aggravated at this big picture problem. We should be telling the story of agriculture more. We should be engaging others in the process of agriculture more. We should be educating the public about the high cost of forgetting this formidable industry more. And we should be communicating the reasons why being in agriculture is an intelligent profession. Because feeding the world with less land mass year after year does require innovative thinking.

Now, Mayor Bloomberg, I admit you may never read this post, but I sure hope it causes people to get Aggressive in their messaging. Emphasis on Ag. Not in violence or hatred, but aggressive in boldness of sharing the story of agriculture and why it is so important. Because one day, there will be another presidential election, and in that year I hope that we won’t have a candidate who writes off farmers, but instead applauds farmers and believes in the blooming industry of agriculture. The future is in all of our hands. May we get aggravated, agitated, and aggressive in telling the world about what Ag is all about.

Tell The Story,

Brandon, An Ag Enthusiast

#Agriculture #FightingForTheFuture #MikeBloomberg

Don’t Give Up on God’s Crop

As a speaker who both speaks and preaches you come to the realization that much of the work you do is like a farmer. You are constantly planting seeds hoping they will take root in people’s lives and produce for the Kingdom. You don’t always see people respond immediately to a message, altar call, or testimonial. We live in a world that is all about instant results, however, I’m a firm believer that God is always working on hearts even if we don’t see it in the moment. Many people might be surprised by this next statement, but the two biggest battles of depression I fight is normally right before I speak and then directly after I speak. The enemy always wants you to be discouraged at what may look like a dismal crop in the present, but last I checked faith is not just for the present crop; it’s for the future of the crop as well. No matter how many people come forward or step up to respond we must remember that FRUIT IS FRUIT and that every life matters no matter how big the invitation might be. Whether it is 100 or 1, God is at work. As believers we must never give up on the crop God is growing in the moment and throughout eternity.

I was reminded of this lesson as I preached at the Oklahoma Junior Swine Association Show in Cushing. I saw God work in an incredible way! We saw 4 people invite Jesus Christ into the heart as their personal Lord and Savior!! Praise God for His Hand at work in 2020! One of the parents even said, “Sir, I got up this morning praying that God would save at least one person today.” And Jesus answered the prayer!

After the service was over, I was heading out to my car, when I was stopped by a high school student at the barn door. She recognized me and said, “Brandon, thank you for preaching today. I’ve actually heard you before. You preached at one of my first pig shows when I was in 4-H.”

At this point my heart was racing as I couldn’t recall seeing this student before. She then said, “It was back in like 2014 and you asked us to come to the show ring if we wanted to ask Jesus into our hearts.”

Then I remembered that message and doing that particular altar call. I also remembered nobody came forward. “Oh yes, I remember that service.” I said. The Devil was already at work in my mind as he filled me with negative thoughts about what had happened.

Then she replied, “Well, I never told you this, but that day, I heard your sermon and accepted Jesus into my heart. And I’ve never been the same person since! I got baptized, go to church, and love God!”

I was caught off guard and laughed with joy and said, “God is so good. Thanks for sharing this with me.”

With tears in my eyes, I got back in my car and headed to our church home for service. I drove back praising God for the testimony. It’s so easy to give up on the crop when we don’t see it bloom according to our own timing.

God will bring everything into fruition, we just have to be obedient and keep planting the seeds. Where the Spirit is leading, the Spirit is yielding. We just have to have the faith to believe in what God is producing for the Kingdom. Never give up on God’s crop, know that the fields are white, the soil is good, and the harvest will come; even if the harvest consists of only one. Because One always matters. #DontGiveUpOnGodsCrop #Salvation #Testimony #GodIsGood