Gamblers

worship surrender 2Raise your hand if you’ve ever stood in church and sung, “I surrender all.”

Raise your other hand if you were invited to “come to the altar and surrender all to Jesus.”

Both my hands are up. I’m typing with my toes.

Just two problems with that idea.  First, surrender isn’t something you do in church.  Second, surrender isn’t something you do at the end or the close of anything.

A few years ago I learned a new language – the language of surrender and freedom.  Inspired by someone’s idea of absolute commitment to Jesus expressed as, “I don’t have to survive,” I began a mental and spiritual journey of surrender.  What else can I let go of? How else can I be free?  And I began to make the list…

I don’t have to be successful…

I don’t have to get angry…

I don’t have to feel rejected…

I don’t have to be right…

You get the point.

Lately I’ve been revisiting that idea, for an important reason.  [click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

Flying moneyEver try one of those teachable moments with your kids that gets turned back on you? As in, Who’s teaching whom?

Twenty or so years ago, we were living in West Alabama and I took Cassie, about age 9, to the local shopping center (translation: Walmart).  It was just before Easter.  We didn’t find whatever it was we were looking for, so we left past the customer service counter.

“Daddy,” she whispered.  “Look… those people are poor!

I looked.

“Those people” were a middle-aged married couple, standing at the customer service desk. They were very humbly dressed, to be sure. And they had all the individual parts to make their own Easter baskets – apparently not able to afford the prepackaged wonders that were for sale in the back.

Ah, Fatherhood! The opportunities we have to engage with our children at teachable moments to give them perspective, wisdom, and character.  This was certainly one of them, and a donned my SuperDad cape. [click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

faceplantDid a face plant a couple of weeks ago.  On concrete.  It was ugly, and so was I for a few days.

The irony of the situation was that I was bolting from one meeting to another, with a cross-town drive in-between.  And the place I was in a hurry to?

A radio interview about the mental health of people in the ministry.

I wasn’t exactly expecting to have my own tested in the process.  But that’s the price you pay when you’re trying to move at the speed of light on a sidewalk designed for the speed of pedestrians.

For just a minute I thought I was seeing the light of eternity.  Turns out I was just seeing stars.

Aside from the wounds to my forehead, knees, hands and pride, I did learn a few things, such as what an “orbital nerve” is.  Oh, and that there is more than one kind of black eye.

But the most important thing I was reminded of is that my ability to maintain my rhythm and step in this world of the falling is no comparison to God’s ability to hold me, heal me, and shepherd me home.  Regardless of how I may stumble in a temporal world, in the one that matters most, He won’t let me fall. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Heh heh heh…  You’re gonna know I’m not smart enough to make this up…

They’re trailblazers, I tell ya’.  They’re not about to let a coupla’ Johnny-Come-Lately’s (or Shepherd or Cason or Fischer-Come-Lately’s either) get the drop on them.  No sir. They’re the first-born, by George, and they’re assuming their rightful place on the family frontier.

Um… except that maybe that family frontier may have a few unexpected twists and turns. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

I know I’m not supposed to worry.

But…

I know I should have more faith in God.

But…

I know this should be an easy, clear decision.

But…

I want to pursue this direction.

But…

I long ago lost count of the number of times a counseling or coaching encounter started there.  Here’s what I know.  Here’s what I should be.  Here’s what I want.

But…

These are the starting points of conversations about something we all encounter – core conflicts. [click to continue…]

{ 4 comments }

I have an urgent news flash for you:  Just because you know something is wrong, that doesn’t mean you’ll avoid it.

Shocking, I know.  And the corollary is also true: Just because you know you’re supposed to do something, that doesn’t mean you’ll do it.

Suppose you could interview Jonah – the Old Testament’s version of Gilligan – and ask him what the most important requirement was for prophets. What do you think he’d say?  My guess is that he would tell you that a prophet’s number one job is to speak what he hears the Lord saying to speak.

Why, then, did Jonah have to travel from the boat to the belly to the burp to the beach before he decided to do what his own standard said to do?

Resurrect a first-century Pharisee and ask him what it took to please God, and you’d probably hear something about keeping the law and prophets, serving God and walking in humility and discipline.

Why, then, did Jesus refer to the scribes and Pharisees as unwilling to lift a finger to meet a need, doing all their deeds to be noticed by men, loving the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and insisting on being called by respectful titles in public?  If serving God faithfully was so important to them, why did the Son of God warn people not to be like them?

Whenever the bad news breaks out about somebody who has shocked us with their oh-no, no-no behavior, we often ask silly questions like, “Well didn’t they know that was wrong?”  Of course they did.  Why, then, would someone violate their own standards of right and wrong?  [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” And they said many other insulting things to him (Luke 22:63-65, NIV).

Making fun.

Something we all do, to ourselves or to somebody else.  Sometimes good-natured, sometimes amazingly insensitive.

But here it’s different.  Here the “fun” is at the expense of the Son of God, and particularly His very nature.  Verse 65 says they were blaspheming.

There is only one reason these men were able to do this – [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Pretender

by Andy Wood on April 4, 2012

in Gamblers, Life Currency, Love, LV Alter-egos

One of you will betray Me.

No way.

Yes, way.

Not one of us.

Yes, one of you.

But we heard you teach in the synagogues and on the hillsides.

Yes, and one of you will choose to live otherwise.

But we saw you perform miracles, like feeding the five-thousand!

Yes, and one of you who carried a basket of leftovers will himself be carried away.

But we healed the sick together with Your power!

Yes, one of you, who healed the sick with My power, will betray me.

But we cast out demons in Your name! [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

It usually starts in the fingers and toes.  Then blitzes the middle of the back, radiating out from there.

It’s cold.  Oh baby, it’s cold.  And those extremities start to go into rebellion.  They just…don’t… want… to… moooove.

Do you know what I’m talking about?  Throw on the socks, wrap up in the blankie, and you’re still shivering.  Body parts you usually ignore are sending you a signal – Do something now! Your ears – normally quite the lady or gentleman – are getting a bit irritate with all this.  Your already-cold nose starts running – for cover.

Oh baby, it’s cold.

For relief, you look outside for some sunny encouragement.  What you find are swelled up birds, vapor-blowing animals, and icicles on your icicles.  The ground is so frozen that even with the howling wind (was that a chill that just ran up your back?), nothing moves. [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Think fast!  What’s the difference between a test and a temptation?

Fast answer:  Nothing.

Slower answer:   One comes from the devil and one comes from the Lord.  But did you know that the same Greek word is used for both?  Check out these familiar words: [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }