Truth

Pam is a worrier.  She knows she isn’t supposed to, but her underlying insecurity tends to frame every thought or situation in terms of what’s the worst thing that can happen.  When people tell her it’s a sin to worry, she just worries more about that.  She would like some joy in her life, but after a couple of times being burned or disappointed, she feels the need to protect herself from pain.

Pam is living in the tension of a core conflict.  And so is her boss, Alex.

Alex lives his life in pursuit of excellence.  Work excellence.  Play excellence.  Family excellence.  Financial excellence.  Your excellence if you get close enough.  The problem is that everything has to be so excellent that most times nothing is.  Because Alex can’t settle for ordinary in anything, he’s haunted by mediocrity in everything.

Alex is living in the tension of a core conflict.  And so is his sister, Teri.

Teri is one of the walking wounded.  Her life has been a vicious cycle of injury, followed by failure, followed by injury, followed by failure again.  It seems that whenever she’s working on forgiving somebody else, she becomes haunted by her own past sins or consequences.  These past mistakes and conflicts have left her fearful of trusting and shy of trying anything or anyone new in her life.  She knows her version of “playing it safe” is only adding to the sadness.  But she’d rather have a sad heart than a seared one.

Teri is living in the tension of a core conflict.  And so is her son, Will. [click to continue…]

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The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me but always evil” (2 Chronicles 18:7).

If the guy who’s always right is also the guy who’s always talking about repentance or judgment, here’s a thought:  repent and avoid judgment.

The solution is NOT to find a different collection of advisers who only tell you what you want to hear.   [click to continue…]

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I know what you’re thinking right now.

You’re thinking, “No you don’t!”

I know… scary isn’t it?

Know what’s even scarier?  Anybody who knows you at all can follow you around for a week and know what you’ve been thinking for the past year.  That’s based, of course, on the biblical principle, “As he thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7).

Your life today is the result of your thinking.  It may not always affect your circumstances, but it always affects your character.  Your disposition.  Your emotions.  Your perceptions.  Yes, your faith.

If you have any intention of designing a compelling future, it’s time to accept responsibility for the role your thoughts play in creating it.  After all, your thoughts have produced the person you are right now.

That’s why the Bible gives such attention to your thoughts.  Jesus said to love God with all your mind.  Paul talks about renewing your mind, and not thinking of yourself more highly than you ought, but thinking soberly.

Recently I reread a familiar old verse and it rocked my world a little. [click to continue…]

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Pssst.

Hey.

Yes, you.

We need to talk.  Really I need to talk and you need to just shut up and listen.  I don’t mean to be mean.  But the most elite fighting force in heaven or on earth is spread all around you.  Their shields are up, and nothing can penetrate them.  Their swords are drawn, and no force in hell or on earth can resist them.  And they’re on your side.

And they’re doing absolutely nothing.

Just watching you get your brains beat out by an enemy that is smarter, craftier, and more powerful than you are. [click to continue…]

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When I’ve lost the fire of passion and power and feel reduced to ashes and embers, will You be the Fire that burns in my soul?

When you’ve lost the fire of passion and power and feel reduced to ashes and embers, I’ll be the Fire that burns in your soul.  I still love you.  And I’m still here.

When I’m standing alone in a crowded room and feel unnoticed… forgotten… alone… will You be the Truth that reminds me I’m not?

When you’re standing alone in a crowded room and feel unnoticed… forgotten… alone… I’ll be the Truth that reminds you you’re not.  I still love you.  And I’m still here. [click to continue…]

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Frankford and 82nd.  Sitting at the light.  Laura Kate (age almost-3) and I have been on an adventure.  And she is about to ask me a very important question.  But first, a slight rewind…

“Laura Kate, first we’ll go to the grocery store.  Then we’ll go by Grammy’s office and pick up some prizes she has for you.”

“That’s an awesome plan,” she says.

In between, she learns six (count ‘em) verses of an Easter song her uncle Joel and I wrote when he wasn’t much older than she is now.  Which brings us to the traffic light near our house on the way home.

“Papa,” says the voice in the back seat.  “Are you growed up?”

“What did you say?” I reply.  “Am I growed up?”

“Yes,” she says, very seriously.

“Yeah,” I mutter.  “I’m growed up.”

“Yay, Papa!  You did it!

Sometimes I wonder.

I wish it was that easy to claim maturity.  Sometimes I think I’m still a kid when it comes to such things.  And sometimes I feel, well, old.  But there’s a difference between growing up and growing old.  Peter Pan and his Lost Boys were only half right.

It’s OK to be a baby when you’re still a baby.  But there comes a time when the word of God and the world of people come together to shout, “Grow up!” After addressing the Corinthians as a pack of carnal children, Paul writes to the Ephesians that “we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).

How do you measure your maturity?  How do you know when you’re growing and when you’re floundering?  Let me hasten to say that maturity isn’t found in big words or fat bank accounts, or your ability to make babies or get a job (although keeping a job may impress a few people).

In gauging your maturity level, I have found five things that act as measuring rods for progress.  You are as mature as: [click to continue…]

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Six Signs of a Spiritual Attack

“Well, how did it go?” Robin wanted to know.

“I just want to be teachable,” I said in a hollow, measured voice.

“What did he say?” she asked – getting ready to rise up in my defense.

What did he say, indeed?  The scene happened during my first pastorate.  Our church had grown quickly and had experienced changes, which is never an easy thing.  Now we were trying to establish our annual budget and define our biggest priorities.  And a man I’ll call Joe wanted to know if he could meet with me.

When we got together, the first words out of Joe’s mouth were, “It is obvious that you aren’t here to help our church grow, but to make a name for yourself.”

Ouch.

I listened mostly (although I did tell him I didn’t appreciate him judging my motives).  I listened as he talked about church’s former days.  I listened as he talked about troublesome people.  I listened as he offered his version of a solution to our problems.  I listened (and stared, frankly) as he “led” us in prayer – weeping all the while.

And I went home, still listening.

I Hate Criticism.

For years I hollered to whoever would listen that “there’s no such thing as constructive criticism.”

I was wrong. [click to continue…]

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This is awkward.  But I want to tell you about an experience I had a long time ago, when I was young and stupid (as opposed to middle-aged and ill-advised). 

I was in a season in my life when I had lost nearly everything.  I don’t mean that poetically.  I mean, everything.

Job… fired.

Career… lost.

Health… busted.

Friends… nearly all vacated.

Marriage… destroyed.

Kids… gone.

Integrity and credibility… a bad joke.

Finances… bankrupt.

Sanity… toast.

I was a shell of a man, crushed under the weight of stupid choices, addictive behavior, and shame.  I would sit and, without realizing it, rock back and forth. (Braves fans, remember how Leo Mazzone, the former pitching coach would rock on the bench?  Yeah, that was me and worse.) 

On this particular day, I was sitting in a hospital day room when somebody stuck his head in the door.  “Anybody here named Andy Wood?” he asked. [click to continue…]

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Truth Is, Encouragement Has a New Language

by Andy Wood on November 19, 2010

in Esteem, Life Currency, Words

I don’t know where it started, but if you’re watching, you may discover a fresh face of encouragement.  In this neck of the woods… um, well, we don’t have woods.  On these windswept plains, you’ll find it on Facebook among a group of teenagers in the Abilene area. 

It’s a simple formula, really, but it hits a nerve of elegance, authenticity, and power.

It’s a declaration of something valuable or important one person sees in another, preceded by the words, “Truth is.”

Here’s a sampling: [click to continue…]

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Imagine for a minute that you’re five years old.  You have taken your crayons and, on your own initiative, made a card for your grandparents.  No special occasion… just an “I love you” message of your own design. 

Hopefully you are motivated by a simple desire to express love to your grandparents.  At the same time, even at age five, you probably also assume that your parents, teacher(s) or somebody will also be proud of you. 

Praise you.

Approve of you.

The big word for that:  validated.  And it feels good.

But what if you got something else in return?  [click to continue…]

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