Gamblers

For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;

My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer (Psalm 32:4).

Everybody talks about the fever heat of summer.

But nobody talks about the heavy hand of God anymore. [click to continue…]

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(The further adventures of Eugene Davis, Sophomore Christian)

“What would be s good time to come by your office?”

The voice on the other end of the phone was none other than Eugene Davis, Sophomore Christian and resident expert on all things spiritually enormous.

Normally Eugene would pop in, sort of like the Allies dropped by to pay the Germans a visit at Normandy.  But this was different.  It had the air of urgency.  Eugene Davis was always serious and everything was important.  But this was a step beyond.  It was deliberate.  Ruggedly precise.  Appointment-worthy.

“I’m free about 3:00,” I said.  ”What’s up?”  (To this day I don’t like ambushes in meetings.)

“I think the Lord has given me a vision.”

“Well,” said I, ”I’ll be here.  Come on by.”

Apparently I didn’t send the right signal.  Didn’t catch the gravy of the situation.  This was a vision.  From God! [click to continue…]

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Like Mysteries? Try This One

by Andy Wood on March 21, 2011

in Gamblers, LV Alter-egos

Do you like mysteries?  The kind that lead you through twists and turns, only to score with a surprise ending that makes you say, “Whoa!”?

I have one for you.  It’s all about a man named Ahithophel.

Ahitho-who?

Ahithophel.

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably never heard of him.  But he’s right there, in high-definition, during the reign of King David in the Bible.  In fact, the Bible says something about this man that I don’t recall ever having read about anyone else, except the Lord Jesus:

Now in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel’s advice (2 Samuel 16:23).

Get this.  Both David and Absalom assumed that if Ahithophel spoke it, it was as if God was doing the talking.  That’s pretty high praise and respect.  I don’t remember hearing that said of Moses,  Jeremiah, or Daniel – as wonderful as those men were.  Ahithophel must have been some kind of man of God.

Now… fast forward exactly one chapter, and you’ll read this: [click to continue…]

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No Joy in Joyland

by Andy Wood on January 12, 2011

in 100 Words, Gamblers, LV Alter-egos, Photos


No joy in Joyland today.

Coaster cars parked, bumper cars boarded up.  The carousel still and silent.

The sign says, “Open March 12.” [click to continue…]

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Halftime, Durham, North Carolina.  The Duke Blue Devils have just scored the first touchdown that top-ranked Alabama has surrendered in two-and-a-half games. 

Not exactly a moment to panic, however.  Alabama leads at the half, 45-13.

Cue the halftime interview with Coach Nick Saban.  “Coach,” Sideline Babe says, “Were you upset about giving up your first touchdown of the season?”

“I don’t care about the touchdown,” Saban replies.  “I’ve just been talking to our guys about playing to a standard.”

Fast-forward one week.  Halftime again.  This time, nobody wearing white and crimson was strutting to the locker room.  The defending national champions are trailing a very strong Arkansas Razorbacks team in Fayetteville 17-7, and it’s no fluke.  These Hogs are good, and Bama’s looking rough.

Somebody… not namin’ names here… but somebody woke somebody up.  Final Score:  Alabama 24, Arkansas 20.

After the game, Coach Nick had this to say:

“I want them to remember what it’s like not playing the way you’re capable of playing, not playing with the intensity and focus you need to have. We have a standard we want to play to, we want to play to it all the time. We certainly didn’t get that done in the first half.”

Another Clock is Counting Down

Football is not the only place where the clock is ticking toward zero.  [click to continue…]

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(Here’s a parable that didn’t quite make it to the Bible.  It’s a follow-up to the story of the Prodigal Son.  In case you missed that first episode, you can find it by clicking here.)  

When last we heard from the Prodigal Son, his loving father, and his older brother, Dad was appealing to the older sibling to come join the party.

“All that I have is yours,” he was saying – which was technically true, since the younger brat had wasted all of his part of the inheritance.

By and by, life settled down.  The older brother continued to do well, and was admired by all for his performance.  The younger son got with the program – for the most part.  Occasionally his friends and family could see some of those old streaks of self-will-run-riot in him.  But for the most part, he lived in great gratitude for his father’s forgiveness and restoration. [click to continue…]

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The Party

by Andy Wood on May 8, 2010

in Esteem, Gamblers, Life Currency, LV Alter-egos, LV Cycle, Waiting

There’s a reason you wouldn’t name your precious baby boy “Herod.”  He made Judas look like a choirboy, and Peter look like, uh, the Pope.

Herod Antipas was the kind of guy who would torture your cat for no apparent reason.  A thug and a bully, Herod was a manipulator and would betray his own family if it meant getting more power.  The only thing sacred to this man was whatever he wanted in the moment.

Herod’s first wife was an Arabian princess.  No joke.  Can you imagine a more romantic idea for a lifetime companion in the Middle East?  Apparently Herod could.  [click to continue…]

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Think fast.  Salvation aside, if you were to lose everything you own – visible and invisible – what would be the most costly to replace?  Your house?  Your land?  Your health?  Your friendships?  Your family?  Your valuable antiques? 

Tough question, isn’t it?  But it’s an important one.  After all, we spend a great deal of time and money protecting ourselves against possible losses.  That’s what the insurance industry is all about.  And just as insurance underwriters have a system for determining “replacement value,” we also need a clear sense of what is most valuable.  The Bible gives us some direction for that in Proverbs 22:1:

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,

Loving favor rather than silver and gold.”

Your most irreplaceable possession cannot be bought or sold.  It isn’t a commodity – like family or health – that can be earned or borrowed.  Your most precious possession is your integrity.  Your good name!

I can hear some of your brains now.  “Oh, THAT!  Yeah, I guess so.”  

But think about it. [click to continue…]

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Wisdom is Boring

by Andy Wood on January 28, 2010

in Gamblers, Insight, Life Currency, LV Alter-egos, Tense Truths

Wisdom is boring.

Wisdom is a nag.

Wisdom is a boring nag.

Wisdom sucks the life out of the party.

Wisdom is a boring, party-killing nag.

Wisdom asks questions about consequences when all I want to do is enjoy myself.  What’s wrong with a little fun, know what I mean?  Wisdom uses words like “safe,” “abstinence” and “consequences.”  Now THAT’ll get your blood pumping.  Zzzzzzz.  Look, all I want to do is have a little pleasure in my life.  I know there’s more to life than feeling good.  But I can control myself. [click to continue…]

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This is about asking yourself a simple, but profound question about choices and consequences and serving.  Choose well, you’ll live well.  Choose poorly, and you will serve the consequences of those choices.  

Moses understood that.  Just before his death, he called an assembly of Israelis and reframed all the things that God had taught him.  We call it, “Deuteronomy.”  Here’s what Moses had to say as he was wrapping things up:

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land (Deuteronomy 30:19-20, NIV).

There’s one example of the diagnostic question:  Am I choosing life or death?  It’s a powerful question about the path we are on.  A friend of mine has started using this to frame his everyday decisions – what he eats, his business decisions, his family relationships. 

Jesus offered another way to frame your choices. [click to continue…]

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