Pastor, It’s Time to Take a Lap

I knew after he had a heart attack last year that this day was going to come sooner than any of us wanted to. You can’t run a church you have overseen that has grown from just 30 members to over 3000 without it taking its toll on your body. His mind might be willing but the body just wasn’t gonna take it much longer.

So, our Pastor, Randy Weeaks, retired yesterday.

I’ve been a member of a church my entire life. I was raised that Sunday belonged to God and my butt better be there. Sure, I skip out here and there and sometimes I really do want to just sleep in, but after all the Lord has done for me over the years the least I can do is give him a few hours of my focus, worship and time with my fellow believers each week.

During that time I have had numerous preachers or pastors I have led by. Most of them have been great men that enriched my life in some form. Growing up in Houston Brother Judson Edwards was the first pastor that truly made that kind of impact. What he did with that little church south of Houston and those people, most of whom we still call friends all these decades later, was truly a work of God.

But no one will ever be another Pastor Randy.

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I don’t even have words to say honestly. He is hilarious, down to earth, loving, strong, bold, compassionate and a great visionary leader. Everything about him points people to the love of God.

We have been members of Walnut Ridge Baptist Church for 11 years now. My kids love the place and we have lifelong friends there now that have made a huge impact on our lives. As a group they helped us during one of our worst financial times as we were adopting Zane and trying to get him home. All of this because we had a pastor that demanded that we love each other and that we love the world around us.

I could write for days about who he was and the things he did, but unless you were around him this would just be another article about a good man. But in our day and age when so many Christians in the church are viewed as hypocrites (and yes most of us sure can be!) and in an age when too many Christian “leaders” are seen building “their own” kingdoms instead of building God’s kingdom, I had to share.

Coming from spending nearly a decade at the big blue roof church down the road where we were essentially booted out and threatened with a lawsuit by the pastor because I confronted him for financially screwing over a friend of ours in our class, Pastor Randy was like a shock to my system. My family and I had been mortally wounded by that experience and even I began wondering if there were any real churches left anymore.

I’ll never forget the Sunday I went by myself and we had just gotten home with Quinn from South Korea. Pastor Randy had completely changed the format of that Sunday morning so that he could focus the time that morning on adopting children. After the service I went up and introduced myself and told him we had just adopted and gotten home a few days ago. The very next Sunday we came back and he walked right up to Quinn and said “this must be Quinn?” and loved on him.

That’s my Randy story and 11 years later he hasn’t changed at all. He’s been like a father figure from stage all these years and in so many ways reminded me of my dad all the time. (For those of you that knew my father, just imagine some of the funny things he said coming from your pastor. They were cut of the same mold. For example, Randy would talk about when he and Doris started dating….he said they were “sniffing around on each other”. That was our Pastor Randy.)

Now he is moving on to the next phase God has for him and his amazing wife Doris. They are starting a new ministry called “Why Not Bless” and we will certainly be big supporters. I can only imagine the lives they will touch and change and I will encourage everyone I know to stand behind them and help them help others.

His legacy in Mansfield will live on. From the annual “Beast Feast” to “Community Outreach Days” each year and to the countless organizations he helped launch from Mansfield helping people all over the world, Randy has left us with the challenge of the great commission; showing others the love of God by being real, giving and embracing joy and laughter. Our good friend Erik Irby is set to take the baton and keep us all going forward into the next generation for Walnut Ridge and for that we are blessed and excited.

Pastor Randy was just a good ‘ol boy from Comanche, Oklahoma, who God supplanted from redneck country right into the heart of the Metroplex. His impact over the last 26 years will remain for decades to come as he “takes a lap” down into Granbury, Texas,  where he can spend some more time fishing for those elusive catfish.

Randy, my family is gonna miss you big time my brother. God speed. We will forever be “your people”.

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Yes, Donald Trump Is a Tool

No doubt about it. President Donald Trump is a tool. He was a tool before he got elected and 18 months later I think nearly everyone can agree he’s a tool; one way or the other.

Yes he’s a bullying, womanizing, demeaning, weird, ego maniac. His mouth is a proverbial conduit of wonder and amazement in most days. Just when you think you’re heard it all…right? He says things that blow your mind and make you nearly pull your hair out. Oh Lord, there’s really no telling what kind of morally questionable things he’s done in his personal life all these years being one of the richest guys in the world since we can remember. But he’s kind of like your favorite restaurant….you really don’t want to go back there and see the kitchen do you?

ISSUES WITH HIS SUCCESS

Honestly, as an entrepreneur there isn’t a lot for me to hang on to either. He’s certainly a success story and that can’t be taken away from him. But, like some people I know who either work for their father or were given their fathers’ business, he was handed success in a bottle to a degree. He had access to millions to start his career. He can’t relate to the “small business owners” like me with no capital to lean on; no endless bank account or American Express card paid by dad, no robust salary to lean on no matter what happens, and the sleepless nights wondering how the electric bills gets paid the next day. That wasn’t his lot or his journey down Success Ave. So be it.

In his defense, I do admire his bullish attitude and mindset, and he has an amazing ability to overcome what people think and move on. When facing business failures (and like most of us true entrepreneurs he’s had a few), he has been able to recover and rebuild. He seems to have a strong family that love each other and are smarter than most of us combined. That says more about him that most give him credit for – yes even if that’s a product of his lovely bride!

THE TRAP HE SET

Of course liberals, and many so-called “conservatives” or “libertarians” have about lost their minds over him. It’s just silly and comical. He laid the trap and they have taken the bait and ran with it. In the process of spewing their hate, they alienate themselves more and more from millions of swing voters. It’s one thing to share your angst or dislike of our President. It’s another to call for violence against him and his supporters, call the First Lady a “b*tch” or “c*nt”, make his daughter sound like the spawn of Satan, not to mention burning American flags. The DNC has become a bastion of far left progressives with no middle ground and an apparent lack of professional discourse. The MMS (main stream media) is their pawn and fans those fires minute by minute each day. Meanwhile, Trumps sits back and laughs at their folly. And that’s the irony. The man who invented folly now giggles at those doing the very thing they hate on him for doing. They hate his hate, so the respond in hate. Crazy right?

HE FALLS IN LINE WITH OTHERS BEFORE HIM

There’s a pure revolt over Trump and who he is. He’s made heads spin and the moral police are in full tactical gear. All of a sudden he’s the most strange, vile, vulgar, mean, hateful, arrogant President we have ever had. It’s “shameful” and embarrassing” they scream. The office of the President is supposed to be revered and held by one just a step below Jesus… apparently. But let’s take a quick walk down Presidential History Ave and see that Trump might be the worst of the worse, but we’ve certainly had our share of Presidential blowhards and evil doers (this list does not include administration scandals either).

  • President Clinton – Monica Lewinsky and womanizer
  • President Andrew Johnson – was a drunk
  • President Reagan – sought insight from astrologist and mediums
  • President Harding – his term was full of affairs, corruption and ineptness including his visits to strip shows
  • President Roosevelt – had on going affair during his term – his wife’s secretary at that
  • President Cleveland  – married a girl in the White House he was guardian over
  • President Adams – skinny dipped in the river often
  • President Tyler – fathered 15 kids with two different women
  • President Obama – had an anti-American pastor for 20 years and was friends with a domestic terrorist
  • President Jefferson – had numerous affairs, including one with the half sister of his own wife
  • President Truman – in a letter written to wife said “he went n**gr” chasing in Africa”
  • President LBJ – was known as a total jerk….also called his penis “Jumbo” and proudly displayed it often to staff members and the like
  • President FDR – was behind the anti-homosexual movement called the Newport Sex Scandal
  • President Pierce – was a total party animal and drunk
  • President Kennedy – cheated on his wife and likely the biggest womanizer ever

*Honorable mention – Vice President Burr – killed someone with a gun, while in office!

Now, none of this gives Trump any excuse to be the tool he is and he certainly can be. But at the same time, people need to get off their moral high road. Especially those woman out there I see that have flaunted their own bodies all over social media for years and yet spew their hate for Trump because of what he has said about woman. Give me a break. Let’s remember we have all sinned. Let’s pull the log out of our own eyes first.

A TOOL WE CAN USE

Political strategy requires thinking beyond the here and now. Sometimes in life you have to do what you don’t want to do now so that you can have what you really wanted to have later. Donald Trump was and is a long term play from the get-go for us real conservatives. Does anyone really think we were all that excited about a man that singled handedly ruined the good ol’ USFL?? I mean come on. Yet, he is an ends to a mean and right now that mean is getting closer and closer.

Trump was timed perfectly. People were and remain tired of the Establishment strong hold in both parties and we will see that in 2018 and again in 2020, especially with the GOP. He’s the total opposite. And we took advantage of that, much like Obama did by taking advantage of being the first black President. Neither Trump nor Obama should have been elected but both were. Obama was a tool himself; being used to reduce our military, weaken our foreign alliances, increase our debt, establish government healthcare, and appoint liberal pro-abortion judges. Trump is the opposite for us true conservatives and we knew that going in to vote.

For me I have always said, the only matter regarding our politics that Jesus really cares about are the protection of the unborn. Roe vs. Wade needs to be overturned immediately. Jesus doesn’t care about our taxes, our roads, who has health insurance or not, our open or closed borders or foreign affairs (outside of Israel of course). But he does care about us allowing millions of babies a year to be murdered and will hold us all responsible one day. Supreme Court judges can change this in the future and Trump was and is the path to giving the life of the unborn a chance.

Those of us with the ability to see the long term ramifications of a Hillary White House knew we didn’t have a choice and we had to use him as the tool he now is. He will likely nominate two or three Supreme Court judges and many, many federal judges as well. These will direct and dictate our laws for decades to come and could be the very reason babies one day are saved from the knives and suction tubes of abortion clinics around the U.S. This one thing is way more important than his mouth, how he handles Putin, what he says on twitter or behind the podium.

Much like Obama, he will be gone and on a list of names one day. Yes, a list even I will cringe at when I see his name. He’s such a tool.

But he’s a tool we are gonna use like crazy right now and honestly I thank God he’s there.

Jesus is Just Another April Fools without a Resurrection

There has only been one religious leader in history that was predicted to die, predicted to rise again and then did so. Jesus Christ.

All of the others remain in their graves; Mohammed, Buddha, Gandhi, Confucius, Zoroaster, Zeus, Apollo, on and on I could go. All are dead…just bones. Lifeless and worthless.

But Jesus overcame death and lives today.

It’s funny how the world today hates Jesus and his followers. Just as He predicted they would by the way in John 15:18 when He told his disciples, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”.

Boy do they! The spike in angst and hate towards those of us that believe in the name of Jesus is once again something that sets Jesus apart from the rest. When was the last time you heard someone rant and rave about Buddha or Gandhi or even Mohammed and his crazy followers? It just doesn’t happen. The world seems to embrace all of those but runs from even mentioning the name Jesus. A great example is the recent Disney movie “A Wrinkle In Time” staring Oprah (who in the past has claimed to be a Christian) when throughout the movie they characters referenced powerful quotes from past philosophical and religious leaders. Not one quote from Jesus, the one with the biggest following in the history of mankind. Go figure.

Why does the world embrace and celebrate the others but have gag reflex when it comes to Jesus? Because they are lifeless and dead. They aren’t a threat and because in their mind there is no accountability for their deeds, good or bad. They can live howsoever they choose.

Jesus didn’t say He was “one of the ways to get to God”. He didn’t say “I can help you get to God”. No Jesus said to him, “I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,” in John 14:6.

Now you know why He is hated.

They key to all of this however, is the resurrection. Without it He too is still dead and His words just become neat little phrases to share and live by. Him rising from the dead however changes everything. For everyone.

Lee Strobel, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune and a graduate of Yale Law School, wrote “The Case for Christ” among some other investigative writings about Jesus. Lee had formerly been an atheist and was compelled by his wife’s conversion to evangelical Christianity to refute the key Christian claims about Jesus.

What he learned changed his life forever. He too now believes.

I could spend hours breaking down facts about the resurrection…including historical witness and testimonies to the fact and scientific research that emboldens the idea. But in the end, it must be accepted by faith. Paul says in Ephesians 5:28, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”

And that step is one that every person on the planet will one day face. What did you do with Jesus? Think about standing before God one day and being asked that. You might should have the right answer…

For the most part the world chooses to hate Him. Others hold Him at a distance as a “good man….part of our history”, and still others do choose to believe with many risking their lives to do so.

Without the resurrection Jesus would be just another April Fools. With it, those who don’t believe are foolish for not. It is a game changer.

Believe in Him today and let Him change your life from the inside out. He will.

Then you too will know the power of the resurrection.

And that’s no April Fools.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

(c) 2018

No Bones About It

 

 

Astros Win It All For All of Texas

Baseball is truly America’s sports. No playoffs are as intense, scary and exciting. Each pitch, each hit, each run scored is total drama. So amazing.

It has taken me a few days since the Astros won the World Series by beating the LA Dodgers to figure out just what to say. When you’ve been a fan of a team most of your entire life and they finally win it all, the words are hard to come by.

Did I cry a little? Yes. Did I scream and party a little? Yes. Did I believe they would do it? No! I was too scared to hope for anything better than a 2nd WS appearance. I was happy with that sadly. Days later and I am still in shock with an endless smile on my heart. They freaking did it!!!!

My dad passed away in July and my prayer then was the Astros, and my Cowboys, would win it all for him.

After all I owe my love of sports to my dad.

I’ve been an Astros fan since 1974 when we moved to Houston as a kid. I’ve waited my entire life cheering them on, and the Rangers, hoping one of my teams would finally bring the World Championship to the great state of Texas. Fitting that the Astros would do it first!

My dad took me to a handful of games nearly every year I can remember as a kid. We would sit way up high in the Astrodome. We’d leave early most games because I had school the next day and I would fall asleep listening to Milo Hamilton call the end of the game. (Sadly he passed away just two years short of seeing this happen!)

These games hold some of the most precious times with my dad…especially now looking back on them without him here. I know he was watching in his ugly orange Astros shirt cheering them on with me and forever I will hold those memories close to my soul. I miss him so much every day.

Now I have the goal of passing on the love of the game to my kids. They are full throttle Rangers fans and I can only hope and pray I have given them so of those great memories like dad gave me. I take them to as many games as I can and every now and then I run them down to Houston for an Astros game. Maybe one day the Rangers too will win a ring for us all.

Texas proud. Houston strong.

Thank you Astros. And if you want to win it again in 2018, please do!

12 Years Ago I Nearly Lost My Daughters

As many know, we have identical twin girls. Born 12 years ago today in Arlington, Texas.

Little did we know how serious it was that we nearly lost them both and it’s a miracle that today we celebrate 12 amazing years with them by our side. Here is what happened:

We had a gyno visit and our doctor (yes I said “we” and “our” doctor…he was AWESOME!) in which he found something alarming. The girls were at 32 weeks and Chloe appeared to have stopped growing. Sidney was getting larger and Chloe wasn’t. Something wasn’t right.

He sent us over to a specialist we called “Dr. Scary” who ended up being a life saver, literally. Our doctor reassured us things were fine,  and we carelessly went about life waiting on this visit.

After spending an hour in a dark room at Dr. Scary’s office with him quietly looking them over he suddenly told us “I want you to go to the hospital right now so these girls can be monitored. We are going to have to go and get them this weekend. Don’t go home, just go right there and I will have someone waiting on you.”

After ignoring him and going home to get our stuff, we showed up Arlington Memorial an hour or so later with family right behind us.

It was then that we first heard about TTTS. Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Our girls had it and in many cases TTTS claims the lives of both twins. By the time the doctors become aware or discover it, they are usually gone or too far gone to save.

TTTS is when, for many unknown reasons, one baby begins to starve because of not getting enough nutrients and the other drowns because of getting too much. For many one day the babies just stop moving. Forever. And it’s usually well into the pregnancy too. Totally traumatic.

Friday night, August 19th was one of the longest nights of my life because I now knew the trouble our girls were in. I slept on the floor with their heart monitor machine blinking right in my face. Every few minutes I would see a pause and would nearly jump ready to get the nurses. They wanted us there so they could do emergency C-sections within minutes before it was too late if they needed too. I was on watch 24/7 for two days.

The day they were born I will never forget as along as I live. Chloe was pulled out first, pale, frail, small and not moving. Not a sound. For the first time our doctor looked scared too. Then Sidney came out, looked nearly twice her size. Red and swollen…but crying.

The seconds seemed like hours as the nurses tried to get Chloe to respond. I stood there behind Julie with video camera in hand in shock and awe at everything taking place. One daughter being footprinted and crying the other practically being beat to death to stir to life. As I write this fresh feelings come back and tears well up in my eyes again.

Doctor made several eye communications with his nurses. He was very concerned and he never, ever got very concerned about anything. My Lord, he offered me a cola right before we walked in to scrub!

Finally, I heard movement from that side of the room. It wasn’t much but our little fighter was hanging with us. They quickly whisked her away to the NICU along with Sidney. I followed them out and immediately wrapped my arms around my mom and dad.

We just didn’t know what the day would hold.

What seems like centuries later, the doctor came in and said they both were stable but would be in NICU for some time. The joy and tears at that moment were the result of seeing a miracle take place that day.

God was good and I still have the most amazing little girls on the planet.

I made this for them years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfI8_ePdit8&index=6&list=PLBCE331A0B49CEDF2

 

Not Sure What to Say

Summer is over and fall is around the corner. Football is back on the field and the Rangers and Astros are working their way into the playoffs. Business is moving forward and family is overall, good.

Yet, it’s not as rosy as it might look. The kids are about to start another year of being homeschooled and Zane has started his first year at Smith for pre-k, so we are back to dropping a child off everyday there, which frankly brings back lots of memories.

Business as a flipper and investor has been really good lately, but has had it’s challenges and big disappointments, as it always does. Was super tough to watch a years long friendship (or what I thought was) end with two people I cared so much for turning their backs on me, but frankly, it’s the price you pay when you do things the right way. Luckily, I have so many more that have stepped up to stand with us during these years. Our suit against those that threw us under the bus is well on the way now and we are seeking to make the damages done equal at the minimum.

But dad’s passing certainly is the biggest change of them all. I really have wanted to talk to him these last few days…and I have had to realize I never will again. I know where he is in Heaven waiting on the rest of us, but it still makes it hard. Mom is stronger than I ever thought she would be and I have had to be too. But, times alone which I have alot of driving around I wonder how he is, what’s going on up there and wished I could just have one more lunch with him at Pizza Inn. He was my dad. The only one I will ever have.

I am so thankful this summer was good. Business finally got some momentum and we got some great family time together down in Galveston. God blessed us with that week with my dad. He knew in a matter of days afterwords he would be gone. I was down there last week and it was hard to be there again, yet healing too. Mom has already been back too as my niece and her husband now are Islanders.

I’ve spent a lot of time going to places dad loved to eat with Ben or alone. El Fenix. El Chico. Whataburger….I have a few more left and there are a few others closed and gone forever, like Harvey’s BBQ.

I wished he could see what’s going on now yet I know he can.

I have big shoes to fill, and some shackles to be free of, but I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. I have a family to feed, a mom and grandma to watch over and others to help. That’s the mission.

Let’s do this. Bring on Fall 2017. I am very ready for it.

The Legacy of My Dad

Every life that is lived is followed by a legacy that remains. It can’t be voided and it can’t be erased. It’s there forever for all to see.

In his 71 years, CJ Speers left a legacy few even realized and most won’t be able to repeat. He was born in Dallas to my grandparents, Jack and Kathrine Speers. He was the oldest of four, sisters Sudie and Janet, and brother Troy. After graduating from Grand Prairie High School, he was the first in the family to graduate from college after attending Letourneau University where he eventually ran into a beautiful young woman named Fern. They fell in love over some King’s Pizza and soon got married and she later became my mom. The groundwork of his legacy was laid…and as Paul Harvey, one of his favorites used to say, soon you will “know the rest of the story”.

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My dad probably never spent one second thinking about the word “legacy”. I know he didn’t sit down and right out annual goals or even consciously think about how he could improve on his legacy each and every day. He just wasn’t that kind of person.

Rather, he simply went out there each day and treated people with kindness, gentleness, and love with a caring, servants’ heart. He did what came naturally and tried to be like Christ to everyone he came across.

If I took the time to write out all of the amazing things my dad did for people and what he meant to them, I’d probably be writing until my own memorial service was being planned. He was just that kind of man and touched so many lives, the way Jesus said to…one at a time.

I can’t tell you how many times he left at the drop of a hat to go help someone fix something, move something, or install something. He was the handyman of all handymen. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t repair, build or do. He managed and led an engineering department, fixed cars at night and at one point nearly single handedly built a church building from the ground up. He was a true servant. Most don’t even know he played the organ for multiple churches, ran the sound system at another, mowed the grounds and did anything and everything he could to repair things and keep the buildings in order. He visited many in the hospital and didn’t hesitate to stop and pray with mom and about anyone that needed it. This was all on top of being a husband and a father giving my sister and I one of the greatest childhoods anyone has ever had.

He was dad to me. He was daddy to my sister. He was “poppy” to my kids and “poppy” to hers. He was just CJ to many and he was “Honey” to just one. But there is no doubt he will forever be a hero to us all.

There are so many things I will forever cherish about my father. The times watching the Cowboys on Sundays after church. The dozens of times he took me across Houston to watch the Astros play and driving home late listening to Milo Hamilton call the game when we left early. He wasn’t the sports fanatic I am but he did it because he loved me. The times we ate lunch together at Wyatt’s Cafeteria, Harvey’s BBQ, or Pizza Inn. The times we worked on cars together at night after work. The times we drove to work together in the summer of 1989 listening to Paul Harvey and getting me hooked forever on talk radio.

He introduced me to conservative politics and sports. He was my biggest cheerleader along with mom and countless times helped me in business when times were tough. And of course he was also just a phone call away when it came to something I needed to figure out or do around house. Lately we talked nearly every day and now I wish I could have just one more. In many ways he was still my security blanket even as I had my own family and myself closing in on 50 years old.

These last few years dad got weaker and weaker but his faith never wavered. He knew what mattered most and we talked about it a few times as it became reality that his life here would be coming to an end. He gave me incredible advice on loving my wife and charged me to take care of both my mom and my grandma. I was honored and I will. His last words to me were “Love you Brady” as I walked out of his hospital room not knowing the next morning he would be in Glory. Oh how blessed I was.

The biggest legacy my dad left us all was making sure my sister and I knew Jesus. He made it possible and was the biggest example of God’s love a kid could ever have. He wasn’t a Jesus freak either. He was just CJ…real, honest and genuine.

In his last words to my kids, he told them, as he struggled to stay awake and breathe….”the most important thing is your relationship to Jesus”.

When it is all said and done, none of the things the world tells us creates a legacy are true. In 100 years, everyone reading this will be dead and gone and none of this worldly pain, suffering, drama or violence will even matter. We will all soon find ourselves facing our own mortality and being asked this one most important question; What did you do with Jesus?

See everyone reading this has a relationship with Jesus. Everyone. You are either his adversary or you are his ally. You either believe in him or you don’t. The Bible says in Philippians 2:10-11 that every knee will bow and confess that Jesus is Lord. That means me. That means you and it has nothing to do with whether you believe or not.

Dad wanted everyone to know God. He knew that knowing and living for Jesus was the best legacy a man could ever give his family.

You might think just going to church here and there or just saying you believe in Jesus makes you a Christian and gives you assurance of being in heaven when you die. But it doesn’t and I want you to hear this loud and clear. The Bible says that you must do three simple things to be saved.

  1. You must recognize that you aren’t perfect and that you have sinned.
  2. You must recognize that you need a savior to make you holy so you can enter into heaven and
  3. Finally, you must pray with words from your mouth…to God …that you believe Jesus died for your sins, rose from the dead and ask him into your heart.

Romans 10:9 makes it clear… “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

It’s not just about believing this in your head. It is about knowing it in your heart.

It would sound something like this: “Jesus, I know that I have screwed up and I have sinned and I need you to save me. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead for me. Please come into my life and save me. I believe in you. Amen.”

It’s that simple. So do it. Now. Do it…for yourself, your family and for my dad.

If there was anything my dad would ask of each of you it would be to make sure you too can one day enter into heaven so he can see you again.

Now that’s a legacy we all can celebrate.

(Dad, it’s all I can do to stop the tears. I miss you. I always will. But thank you so much for making sure I knew Jesus. Tell Papa and the others I said hi. I will see you soon!)

Summer of Transition – My Why is My What

Life has its ups and downs. No doubt about that. Try working for yourself for three decades and you’ll know real fast. There is time of plenty and time of want. We have experienced both and this summer is proving to be another exciting time of facing such challenges head on in faith.

Last fall, after years of dealing with a professional battle of tremendous proportions, I made the decision for a career change. The battle I had waged wasn’t over, but I was done fighting it out in that arena. As an entrepreneur I had learned long ago that my career would likely follow the path of the many others before and like me. One thing would lead to another, and then another, and maybe another…and then one day it would finally land me where I needed to be.

For me, I believe I am living in that moment now.

Because of the egregious acts of a company I contracted with as an independent agent called Conestoga Trust, led by the scandalous likes of executives Hector DeLeon and Michael McDermott, I was basically forced out of business without much choice to go on. (I am not even at liberty to share all the goodies publicly, but buy me a beer and I promise you one heck of story of Hollywood proportions).

After two years of prayer and debate, my former business partner and I, long time friends, decided to go on the offensive and drop a huge ass lawsuit on their front door just a few weeks ago. (If only I could have been a fly on the wall as they were served those papers.) God knows what the result will be, but my name was ruined, my career taken from me and my livelihood and finances turned completely upside down. They misled me, then threw me under the bus and me and my family paid for it dearly. It’s time they pay us back and what a relief it was to make that decision! I am thankful God brought us an amazing attorney to help us proceed at the least cost possible too.

I wish I could say my self-employment career has been a straight line of success. But for most like me, the journey is one that includes many twists, turns, betrayals, bankruptcies, and more losses than wins. I’m not ashamed of it either. Most people take the path of least resistance and work for another and I get that. Trust me. There are times when I ask myself why in the hell I didn’t. I’m tired of getting the rug pulled out from under me.

But the strength of us entrepreneurs is we rise up and carry on.  And so are we.

Our 4th child, and second adopted son, Zane, has been home now for 8 months and for the last 6 months of that time frame I have been working like a mad man on something new. Something that is more me than anything ever before. Something Julie and I can do together, that can create a lasting legacy for those I love financially and professionally. I have never been more excited in my entire life. I have started and run businesses since I was in my teens. Many have failed and some have been pretty darn successful – at one point I had a business that had 60+ employees and revenues of about $5,000,000 a year. But like many entrepreneurs I made some bad decisions and in the end didn’t have much to show for it.

I have had to borrow money from family. Friends have stepped in a supported us.

It has been hell at times. Pure hell.

But God always has a plan and I certainly have my “why”.

I recently got to spend 2 solid days in Phoenix, AZ, with a room full of very successful and experienced men and women in the real estate investing world. Some were making well into seven figures and most others were running their REI business full time. I was beyond excited, having launched into this arena myself at the end of 2016, to be around people really doing it day in and day out. No internet hype. No sales pitch. No gimmicks. Real people, making real money doing something that frankly is REALLY hard.

The very first speaker of the summit, Kent Clothier, told us frankly that money better not be the reason for seeking success. It better be about something bigger than yourself. He too had at one time seen success and watched it fall nearly over night. He asked us to consider our “why”. Define it. Know it. Study it. Think about it. Pray about it.

Why were we all entrepreneurs? Why were we ok with getting kicked in the groin time and time again only to stand back up and go back at it? Why had we decided to jump into one of the most hotly competitive business worlds ever, real estate? Why?

I came home and chewed on that for days. Sure money…being able to pay the bills….was important. Having enough to enjoy a Disney trip or Vegas trip here and there would be fantastic, and having enough to give extra to our church is vital, and having enough to attend my Cowboys games each fall was practically top of the list.

But in the end none of that will do. Motivation lasts for a moment. A real why lasts forever and I needed to pin that down. The why becomes the what and the what leads to the how. A+B=C.

Legacy. That’s my why. And legacy starts with my family…my wife and my kids. Taking care of my parents and those I love means more to me than anything I could go buy or do. Seeing the joy on their faces as we walk along the beach, or walk through the streets of Seoul in a future homecoming trip just light my world.

Memories are an investment all to their own. I am blessed beyond words to have already had many great ones both as a kid thanks to my parents and as an adult with my family. But I want more. I want my legacy to be more about what we did, who we helped and the lives we touched than anything else.

Real Estate investing (wholesaling, wholetaling and flipping homes) is WAY harder than you ever see on TV or hear on the radio. As a matter of fact, it is nothing like that at all. It is by far the hardest business I have ever started from the ground up. The amount of stuff you need to know, do and put in place is unreal.

Especially when it’s basically you doing it all. Mailers, data mining, creating direct mailers, website content, Facebook and Google advertising, education, documentation, answering calls, follow up systems, working with title companies and attorneys, dealing with lien issues, mortgage companies and emotional family members, negotiating with sellers, finding buyers, analyzing comps, repair estimates, and rehab profit potentials, KIPs and reporting, call tracking software, setting up and training virtual assistants. raising capital (yea, try asking people to invest with you when you have never had to before…that’s real fun), networking and building relationships with others…..and I better stop there. I think you get it. You really want to do this now? It’s no TV show.

So my why better be big. It better get me up in the morning  keep me moving throughout the day.

God gives us opportunities. He will make the path in front of us clear, if we seek Him and ask Him to. But He isn’t gonna walk us down the path to victory. He will walk with us…but not for us.

I started this year with Proverbs 16:3 as my verse for the year. I have given this to Him completely. And yes there have been times when I have taken it back and gotten scared, worried, and felt completely powerless and overwhelmed. But overall, He has led me into the discovery of amazing things, not only about this business, but about who He is and what He wants from me. I have a long way to go on both fronts.

I do believe I will look back one day, on that perfect day, standing on the balcony at a Disney World resort preparing for a day of amazing fun with the family, and humbly smile at how God did what He always seems to do. Take something bad and turn it into something good.

I know I can do this. This is me. It’s hard yet it’s fun. It’s fast paced, intense, and competitive. You better be good at everything – reporting, marketing, negotiations, sales, business management and administration. If you aren’t the odds are stacked against you.

But one day I will stand on that balcony with my why’s in hand and others will be running the show for me. I will have arrived and I will be fully devoted to that legacy.

I may be 47 closing in on turn #4 on the way to 50. But, many successful business men hit their stride about then too. I’m not done yet. And my why’s make the what alot easier.

Now I get why the why is so important. Let’s go do this.

#timeisnow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entrepreneurs Are Their Own Breed

I’ve been an entrepreneur for 25 years now. It’s not easy. It’s late nights of planning, taking risks, putting it all on the line, with no assurance of success.

Many people get stuck in the rut of working 9-5 for someone else and sometimes even I have to admit I wonder if I had just taken that road if life might have been a little less complicated. Let someone else take the risk, spend the money, deal with attorneys and mean people, and stay up at night worrying.

But I wouldn’t trade it.

I might not be rich financially, but the time I have had to spend with my loved ones and enjoy the journey of life as a business owner has made it all worth it.

If you are on your own small business journey, hand in there. It can happen and if you let go and let God take control (Proverbs 16:3) you can find success too!