Words

Carrying Weight 2

Chances are, you have no idea.

A couple of weeks ago we were packing for a week at Disney.

No, professional movers or U-Haul were not involved.

Anyway, when Robin got everything loaded into three suitcases that a near-grown human could fit into, she asked me to weigh the luggage to make sure she had thought of everything.

Um, I mean, to make sure it fit within airline regulations.

We have this handy little scale that picks up the suitcase by the handle and lets you know what you’re asking those baggage handlers to tote ‘n’ hurl. I picked up the first.

“Forty pounds,” says I.

“See what that feels like?” says my ever-wise wife. “That’s what you’re no longer carrying around.”

I should point out here that in the last five months I’ve lost about that much weight. And that little luggage exercise was enlightening.

I picked it up again, holding the scale and entire weight of the suitcase in one hand. That was what I had been carrying around, day-in, day-out, but had now shed. Needless to say, it made an impression.

I was impressed how ordinary and normal my extra “baggage” was. How easy it was to justify myself, despite the fact that 20 years ago I weighed about 60 pounds less. And how much I was presuming upon my created-by-God body to do in overtime.

I just didn’t realize how much weight I was carrying. [click to continue…]

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Hidden Clock

In the mood for a little detective work?  Care to uncover a secret that may have right in front of our noses for years?  It certainly was in mine, and I was oblivious.

Would you be interested in mining out some clues if I told you that when you do, you may have discovered one of the most powerful life and success principles known to humanity?  And that if you master this one skill, the transformation in your own life, to say nothing of your influence and circumstances, can be breathtaking?

Am I exaggerating?  No, if anything I’m understating the potential of this discovery.

Getting this – I mean really getting it – can explain why you tend to sabotage yourself after you’ve made progress toward a goal.

It may explain why churches or individual leaders lose their influence, or why they nourish it.

It may explain why you have made progress toward healing, then somehow hit a wall.

It may explain why your relationships go in frustrating cycles – hot today, cold tomorrow… intimate today, lonely later.

Finding this secret is like discovering a clock on your wall that’s been there the whole time, quietly ticking away, pointing to the correct time, but you may have never noticed it.  In one sense it’s obvious – in another, it probably calls for a closer look than you have given it.

Will it help you win the lottery?  Doubtful.  But it could lead you to a place where you never pine away for sudden wealth again.

Will it solve all your relationship problems?  Maybe, maybe not.  But it will position you to gain the most from every relationship you have or want to have, whether others cooperate or not.

I wish I could tell you that this secret has been locked away in some government vault and is now being released to a select few, and that if you pay me $3,999.00 I will share it with you, along with seven free bonus offers.  But the thing is, this secret has been in open view for anybody to see – and it’s free.

Still here?  Ready?  Okay, no more hype.  [click to continue…]

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three candles 2

As you celebrate in the silent night or the joyful noise that is your Christmas, I joyfully lift my prayer to the Father of lights on your behalf – praying that you would discover the unique inspiration that comes from knowing what an inspiration to others you can be.

I pray that on this day you would find your way to the Chamber of your Beloved, to rediscover the awakened intimacy that comes from having your soul restored, realizing again the central message of Christmas, that you are completely loved.

I pray that in the coming year, when you engage with the terrible and the trivial in this world, that when others are desperately looking for the light of truth and hope, they find it burning brightly still in you.

[click to continue…]

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Multi-ethnic Group

I once heard someone say that every Christ follower is a missionary or a mission field.  And when you cease to become a missionary – that is, a functioning ambassador for Christ – you become someone else’s mission field.  Whether that’s true or not, one thing is certain: every believer has been given the mandate to impact other lives positively for a living Christ and His gospel.

Yes, that means you, even though you most likely don’t consider yourself a missionary in the classic sense of the word.  But I want to remind you that you quite likely stand on the spiritual shoulders of a first-century Apostle who had this to say:

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

This man dedicated his life to sharing a message of hope, grace and forgiveness for one purpose:  winning.  But not winning in the sense of producing a gaggle of losers in his wake.  No, he said winning meant that those who heard his message became fellow partakers of the good news.  That meant an ongoing relationship.  And when you read the letters Paul wrote, you see that he did that very thing… he kept “partaking” in the gospel with them… showing them its implications, giving and receiving its encouragements.

So what about you?  Who are the potential “fellow partakers” in your world?  Who are the people you are uniquely positioned to influence?

Before you give me that “aw shucks” kick in the dirt or your eyes glass over, let me show you three ways to answer that question.  Answer these three questions and you’ll find three fields of influence in your life: [click to continue…]

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Pouting 2

Having it rough lately?

Blues gotcha by the, um, barnacles?

Feeling betrayed by your so-called friends, or battered by life in general?

Ready for that pity party?

Let me suggest a couple of guys to leave off the invitation list.  [click to continue…]

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Marbles

It’s one of the most haunting verses in the Bible.  Sad, because it actually happened.  Haunting, because it could also happen to you and me.

The verse:

Then all the disciples forsook him and fled (Matthew 26:56).

What’s interesting is that a few verses earlier, they all had chimed in with their spokesman, Peter:

“Even if I must die with you, I will never deny you” (Matthew 26:35).

Wow. I think that may still be a record turnaround.  So what went wrong?  Are there any lessons to be learned? Any warnings to be heeded for our moments of testing?  I think so.  Put in proverbial terms,

Pride goes before destruction; a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

And on any given day, for any reason, you and I are just as capable of setting ourselves up for a blowout as Peter and the gang were.

Looking back on Peter’s attitudes and expressions, it’s easy to do a post-mortem on his ego trip.  To be fair, it isn’t quite as easy when we’re the ones doing the strutting.  See if you can related to any of these symptoms: [click to continue…]

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Soul to Soul

by Andy Wood on February 5, 2014

in 100 Words, Insight, Life Currency, Words

Communication

“In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language.”  -Mark Twain

 In communication, clarity rules.

But logic is only one way people make sense of things. [click to continue…]

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Lane OneI think I’m going to do it again.

I think I’m skipping New Year’s Resolutions for something that for me and many others, has seemed to work much better. I’m referring to building my year around one simple, clear theme that reflects where my spiritual, mental and overall life wheels have been turning.

You can read more about the idea behind the idea here.

What’s interesting is that in establishing that one-word theme, you have no idea at the start where it may take you.  My one word for this past year was Lean. You can read more about it here.   This year I have learned much about leaning in, leaning on the Lord, and getting lean than I bargained for.  Some of that was a case of seeing the light; some was a case of feeling the heat.

To be clear, I didn’t always lean well this year. But I learned more, experienced more, accomplished more, and was challenged more by that level of focus on that one word than if I had made a list of New Year’s resolutions.

So.  What about now? What’s this year all about?

To get a clear idea, I knew I’d have to go to the Sanctuary – to that place where I seem to hear the Lord more clearly than anywhere else.

Time to head to the shower.

I happened to be in Athens, Georgia for my nephew’s wedding, and my hotel room just happened to have a shower readily available.  So there in the steady spray of life and spirit made possible by the Holiday Inn Express, I began to wait on the Lord and search for my Descants of the Soul.  What has been the “back beat” – the song behind the song – of my life over the most recent seasons?

If I had turned it into a dialogue between me and the Lord, it would have gone something like this: [click to continue…]

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My 2013 Christmas Prayer for You

by Andy Wood on December 25, 2013

in Life Currency, Love, Words

Three Candles

In the stillness of the night or the glory of the morning that is Christmas, my prayer for you is that beyond the traditions and trappings, through the gifts and the connections, you approach it all with a heart that is fully awake and aware of the Larger Story and the part you still must play.

I pray that you would fall in love again this Christmas with a first-love kind of desire for Jesus, whose birth we celebrate. I pray that your soul would find in Him and in those whose lives you touch the sweetest of love that gives graciously, forgives completely, and waits patiently when you or I fail miserably.

I pray that you have those God-breathed encounters in which your heart is so full you are lost in the moment.  I pray that your heart is so captured with the wonder and joy of the presence of God, even in the simplest of experiences, you could stay in that moment and hold Him tightly. [click to continue…]

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Joy Comes to the House of Affliction

by Andy Wood on December 20, 2013

in Life Currency, Love, LV Stories, Words

An imaginary story of what could have been…

Olive ChaliceEvening falls quickly in Bethany, as the sun seems to drop like a rock on the other side of the mountain, and beyond that, the Holy City of Jerusalem. And in this village – whose very name means “house of affliction,” the mood often seems to do the same.

There always seems to be something else to do in Bethany, this place of never-ending chores.  This village, one of three in Israel set aside to treat the sick, is a place of care and service. Duty and devotion.  Its residents usually find a sense of satisfaction there.

But not this time.

Not when duty and devotion means saying good-bye to one of its own.

One of Bethany’s most cherished servants, from a deeply respected family, has died giving birth to a beautiful baby girl.  And in this House of Affliction, the hits just keep on coming.

The official time of mourning now passed, duty calls, and the people of Bethany, still reeling, must man their stations.  And as 12-year-old Martha trudges through her evening chores – something she once relished doing with her Mama – no one feels the unfairness of it all more than she. [click to continue…]

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