The Royal Priests of Balkum

by Andy Wood on October 20, 2010

in Uncategorized

On a county road in rural Alabama, in the heart of peanut country a long time ago, a unique, once-in-a-lifetime gathering of people took place.  It was about this time of year.  And I happened to be there.

It was a meeting of the Royal Priests of Balkum.  And I had been asked to address them.

Let me hasten to say that there wasn’t much about those in attendance that day that looked particularly royal.  Priestly either, for that matter.  There were some farmers, a few teachers, lots of retirees, some pastors, some homemakers, a missionary or two.

The program actually said “Henry County Baptist Association.”  The sign outside said, “Balkum Baptist Church.”  And I had been asked to speak on an assigned subject:  the priesthood of the believer.

They didn’t hear me groan.  But groan I did.  The “doctrinal sermon” they called it.  And this year’s doctrinal theme had become a denominational hot potato.

But duty called, and the Baptists of Henry County awaited.

And so did the Lord.

He was waiting on me to learn a priceless lesson. [click to continue…]

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What Would You Do If You Wuz the Devil?

by Andy Wood on August 12, 2010

in Uncategorized

“What would you do if you wuz the devil?” Aunt Ruth asked. 

“I’d retire and sue the movie industry for back pay,” I said.

Aunt Ruth was neither my aunt, nor was she named “Ruth.”  Through a series of circumstances I don’t have space to tell, that’s what I wound up calling her.  Crusty, funny, frank, and yes – godly – Aunt Ruth had eyes that danced long after her feet no longer could.  Today her eyes were dancing.

“I’m serious,” she said.  “What would you do?”

“Oh, the usual, I guess.  Lust, greed, bitterness.  Why are you asking?”  (We’d been talking about how blessed we were as a church, and how excited I was about the future.)

“Come on, boy, he’s got more sense than that!  Too bad you don’t.” [click to continue…]

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Starting Over, Finishing Well

by Andy Wood on August 11, 2010

in Uncategorized

This is about endurance.  

About playing hurt.

About finishing strong.

This is about starting over.  About reinventing yourself, your future, your relationships.

Before there was a Ripkin or a Rocky Balboa (VI), there was Lou Gehrig.  The Iron Man played in 2,130 consecutive baseball games.  However many seasons that was, Gehrig never missed a game. 

Did he ever get hurt, sick, or tired?  Yep.  But he always showed up at game time. 

That’s one of the keys, you know.  Just show up.

After Lou retired, he had a physical examination.  [click to continue…]

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Corie, Carrie, Cassie, and Kara on the Charles Bridge in Prague, 2005. All were back together again for Kara's wedding this weekend in Ft. Worth.

1.  Yes indeed, a washer and dryer will fit inside a conversion van if you take the middle seats out. 

2.  Driving said conversion van automatically lowers your driver’s IQ by about 30 points.

3.  Apparently I was right at home; Dallas/Ft. Worth was the host to an Idiot Drivers Convention this weekend.

4.  If a nighttime idiot driver in DFW makes you mad, it’s probably not a good idea to get behind him and turn on your bright lights.

5.  If you make a nighttime idiot driver in DFW mad by turning on your bright lights in his mirror, and he decides to retaliate… for 15 minutes… it’s probably best just to declare him the winner. [click to continue…]

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Raise those tray tables, buckle that seat belt (that you wouldn’t have known how to do without that handy demonstration), and turn off that portable electronic device!  Hanukkah Hams is taking off again. 

In case you missed any of the previous editions, a Hannukah Ham is an episode of brilliance in the blooper reel of life – leaving us all to ask… “What were they thinking?”

In celebration of the fact that tomorrow I’ll be enjoying that living enema called commercial airline travel (flying to ‘Bama for a week), this edition of Hanukkah Hams takes you past the ticket agents, through security, by the food court, and into the pressurized metal tube.

The problem, friends, is NOT a shortage of material. [click to continue…]

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When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Isn’t it wonderful that we don’t walk through “the fire” alone?

Isn’t it interesting that we nevertheless must walk through the fire?

God doesn’t seem to need our advice for how hot the flames should be,

or even where in the natural they come from.

He only asks that, when the pathway leads through them, we keep moving.

And when the flames taunt, we keep trusting.

(Lyrics from “How Firm a Foundation.”  Photo credit:  AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

(For more stunning photography from the San Bartolome de Pinares in Spain, click here)

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My Ten Most Addictive Sounds

by Andy Wood on February 23, 2010

in Uncategorized


Martin Lindstrom has learned what sounds – branded and unbranded – are most likely to turn your head.  Or move your heart.  Or open your wallet.  Hmmm.  Suppose the above video may be a hint?

Together with Elias Arts, a sound identity company in New York, Lindstrom’s company, Buyology, Inc. tested 50 volunteers and measured their responses to a wide variety of sounds.  He has made a list of the 10 most powerful and addictive sounds.

You can forget waves, rain, or birds.

But if you hear the five tones of the Intel jingle, you are very likely to be drawn to it; it’s the second-most addictive sound in the world right now.  Third on the list (and you know that’s right… a cell phone set on vibrate).

To find out what the number one most addictive sound is, as well as the top 10 in both branded and non-branded categories, [click to continue…]

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A Dance of Promises: A Scripture Symphony

by Andy Wood on January 10, 2010

in Uncategorized

Raised HandsI am the Lord, and there is no other;

apart from me there is no God.

I will strengthen you,

though you have not acknowledged Me, 

I will sing of Your strength,

in the morning I will sing of Your love;

for You are my fortress,

my refuge in times of trouble. 

Call upon Me in the day of trouble;

I will deliver you, and you will honor Me.

 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

My goodness and love will follow you all the days of your life,

and you will dwell in My house forever. 

I will lie down and sleep in peace,

for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. 

Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance,

the ends of the earth your possession.  [click to continue…]

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Aunt Ruth 2Aunt Ruth was neither my aunt, nor was she named “Ruth.”  Through a set of circumstances I don’t have time to relate, “Aunt Ruth” was what I wound up calling her. 

Aunt Ruth had eyes that danced long after her feet were unable to.  She defied aging – said she didn’t have time or sense enough to grow old.  She detested religiosity and people who took themselves too seriously.  “Fuddy Duddy Christians,” she called them.  Aunt Ruth was wise.  Through her sometimes-sharp exterior, she loved me.  And she taught me one of the most important lessons I ever learned. 

“Life’s full of mysteries,” Aunt Ruth said.  In fact, she said it a lot.  Aunt Ruth loved mysteries.  Not the murder-type, but those principles in life that defy logic.  It always amused her to get me in an argumentative mode and throw out one of her “mysteries.”  

Like the time I was angry because someone had been spreading lies about me.  “I’m gonna find out who started it, and set them straight!” I informed her.  

“Forget it,” Aunt Ruth said.  “Get to the bottom of it, and all you get is some stirred up mud and a mad catfish.”  [click to continue…]

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candle-smokeTense Truth:  Jesus, the Light of the World, will sometimes allow us to experience seasons of darkness in order to teach us to trust Him, not guarantees.  But He warns us not to turn back to that other kind of darkness – a world of evil or self-initiated “light” in order to find quick-fix relief.

First I’ll give you the pieces, then I’ll put them all together.

  • A couple of weeks ago I was having lunch with a friend and he made a profound statement: “When your world is dark, the temptation is to turn deeper into the darkness for relief.” So true. And yet it makes about as much sense as digging your way out of a hole.
  • Someone once asked me if I’d ever had a midlife crisis. I blurted out instantly, “Yeah, I’ve had about a dozen of ’em.”
  • I’ve noticed a recurring pattern lately. I’m dealing with a significant number of professional men, all of whom could be classified as successful. In fact, they’re geniuses at what they do – so good, they can do it without a lot of thinking. And yet they’re bored, restless, or even depressed. Before my very eyes, they’re starting to act dead-before-they-die. In fact, my most common deep spiritual advice to them is, “You’re not dead yet!”
  • Have you ever noticed that people who are living “in the darkness” are also the loudest to predict a dark future? Wonder if that’s just a coincidence?

More than once somebody or something has rocked my Zippity-do-dah world and faith and, for lack of a better way of describing it, “turned the lights off.”  What’s ironic is that it didn’t happen because I’d screwed up or was somehow running from God.  In fact, the darkness happened while I was pursuing the Lord and, by all accounts and purposes, growing. [click to continue…]

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