gateofnewbeginings_lI found myself strangely moved.

The other day a pastor friend, who is walking through new beginnings of his own, sent me a copy of this Thomas Kinkade painting from 2005 titled “Gate of New Beginnings.”  I have always appreciated the work of “the Painter of Light,” but mostly at a distance. This one felt up close and personal.

Here’s what Kinkade himself said about it: [click to continue…]

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Ship TurningQuick question:  If you’re going 30 miles per hour and wanted to make a 180-degree turn, how fast could you do it and how much ground would you lose heading the other way?

Quick answer: It all depends on the vehicle.

And that matters more than you may realize.

If you’re on a motorcycle doing 30, a good rider can execute a 180 pretty quickly and only lose a few feet before he darts back in the opposite direction.

On the other hand, if you’re at the con of an aircraft carrier traveling 30 knots per hour, it would take about 72 seconds. And in the process, you’ve lost about half a nautical mile.

Changing direction takes time.  And momentum isn’t always on your side. And because of that your resolve will be tested.

Changing Direction Takes Time

I’ve never seen a hummingbird or bumblebee make a U-turn.  [click to continue…]

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MountHermon 2

Hi.  I’m James Harvey.  I’m 63 years old and live in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio called Worthington.  There’s no real reason you should know me, unless you take my car payments down at the bank or perhaps were at my recent early retirement party at the local university, where I worked for 23 years.

But what I’m about to share with you could change all that.  It certainly changed my life.  And I think it can change yours.

More on that in a minute.  First, let me give you a little of my “before” picture.  It was only a couple of years ago, yet it seems like a lifetime.  And my life was a mess.

  • I was struggling to make ends meet financially.  I would forget to pay bills when I had some money, or remember to pay them when I didn’t have enough.
  • I found myself more and more isolated from friends and family.  I did my duty when it came to get-togethers or holidays.  But there wasn’t much joy in it.
  • I was restless and bored at work.  There was a time I loved my job, but I reached a point where I was desperate for something new.
  • I started having health problems.  I’ve always been a pretty healthy guy, but I started getting repeated episodes of bronchitis.  My energy level dropped to “turtle-level.” I just assumed it was the natural result of growing older.  Boy, was I wrong.
  • People started asking me if I was depressed.  I didn’t seem like myself, they said.  My answer was always the same:  “I’m fine!”  But in my heart I knew I wasn’t.

Can you relate to any of that?  I was “that guy” – the one who felt like he was pushing a boulder up a mountain.  Only it felt as though somebody was on the other side, pushing back.

That’s when I rediscovered an ancient secret.  [click to continue…]

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Train DerailCongratulations on your purchase of Leaderail® – the all-in-one resource designed to completely undermine your influence and effectiveness as a leader.  Whether you purchased the CEO Golden Parachute Edition, the One-Term-in-Office Plan, or the 90-day Let’s-Get-This-Over-With Formula, you’re sure to be pleased with the results.  Soon you’ll be free to search for other opportunities for employment or service without the cumbersome distraction of someone else looking to you for guidance or vision.

Each component in the Leaderail® package sells separately and functions as an independent module.  However, when used in combination with other components, we are confident that you will see twice the results in half the time.

You’ll want to read the instruction manual for full details on putting the Leaderail® system into practice.  This document is meant just to introduce you to your Leaderail® package contents. [click to continue…]

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parenthesisA few months ago I was having a conversation with someone who was going through a recovery process.  He sounded really healthy on the phone – sober in the best sense of the word.  Then he said something really curious about his life.

“I’m so ready to get things back to normal.”

“Normal,” I told him, “was what got you in trouble in the first place.  You’re ‘normal’ is being redefined, and that takes time.  And as much as you want that, you are going to need to give it time to form.”

I was talking to a couple a few weeks after their first baby was born.  I asked how things were going and got a predictable answer.  “We love being parents, but we’re exhausted from lack of sleep,” Mom said.

Then Dad chimed in…  “Yeah, we’re so ready to get back to normal.”

I guess I was a little rude, but I just laughed.  In their face.

“You want what?  Good luck with that.” [click to continue…]

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TransformationWe’ve seen and heard it described in myriad ways.  Some are actually in the Bible.  It’s a place where the streets are paved with precious metal.  A place of purity and timelessness.  A place of extraordinary worship and togetherness.  A place where nobody worries about the safety of their children and nobody nervously waits for lab results.

Yes, I’m talking about heaven.  And like the uber-hit song says, I can only imagine what it will be like.  But like you, I have imagined quite a bit… some in earnest, some in fun fantasy before the Lord.

But there was one thing about heaven I had overlooked until a couple of days ago.  I had read and actually preached from this verse many times and passed right over it.  I’ve read this verse at gravesides and church houses countless times and never quite got it.  But I think it’s an important thing to get… [click to continue…]

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Chihuahua Wearing GlassesIn his book, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, Chuck Swindoll tells of two young women from Southern California who spent the day doing some last-minute Christmas shopping in Tijuana.  After a successful day of bargain hunting, they returned to their car.  One of the ladies glanced down in the gutter and noticed something squirming, as if in pain.  On closer examination, they saw what appeared to be a dog – a tiny Chihuahua – struggling for its life.  It was breathing heavily, shivering, and barely able to move.  Their hearts went out to the pathetic little animal.  Their compassion wouldn’t let them drive off and leave it there to die.

The friends decided to take it home with them and do their best to nurse it back to health.  Afraid of being stopped and having the little creature detected by border patrol officers, they carefully placed it on some papers among their packages in the trunk of their car.  Within minutes they were back in California and only a couple of hours from home.  One of the women held the sick little Chihuahua the rest of the way. [click to continue…]

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Is God Loosening Your Tent Stakes?

by Andy Wood on November 16, 2012

in Since You Asked

My friend Bruce Reinhardt has a unique way of communicating through metaphors.  He’s the one who taught me this phrase to describe when God is preparing us for a major change.  “We can look back and see that the Lord was loosening our tent stakes.”

I have long ago lost count of the number of times I have used that imagery.  It especially speaks to people who tend to think their “tents” (translation:  lives) are anchored in concrete.

If your heart’s still lost somewhere on Walton’s Mountain or you’re still imagining working at that same location until you’re shipped off to the retirement home you may need to wake up for this one.  We’re not just living in a mobile society.  We’re living in a changing one.

Fact is, you may actually be less mobile and still have multiple changes.  As of this year I have lived in Lubbock, Texas longer than anywhere in my life – 16 years.  But I’ve drawn paychecks from 16 different places.  Not all full-time, of course. But the point is, many of those had to do with changes that were handed to me that I didn’t ask for.  And not all of them involved leaving a place of employment. [click to continue…]

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Today’s a special day – not just because it’s my daughter-in-law’s birthday – that would make it special enough!  But today’s also the fifth birthday of this site.

Almost 10 years ago my friend Kevin Rhoads was telling me about a new way to communicate that had become really popular – something called “blogging,” which was short for “web log.”  “It’s sort of like an online journal,” he said.

Hmmph.  Knowing the kind of stuff I usually put in my journal, my first reaction was, “That’s a crazy idea.  Who would want to read that?”

Then a couple of years later I wrote a book for a 40-day church campaign, complete with videos and teaching sessions, called LifeVesting.  You can read the back story here.  After that, I was looking for ideas to keep the momentum and to expand the message that was in that book.

It was then that I was introduced, I think by Kevin again, to Seth Godin’s blog, and I was hooked as a reader and inspired as a writer.  So that’s how a blog can help.

So on October 12, 2007, the LifeVesting site was launched.  Five years into it, this is post number 780.  Through a wide variety of ideas, rants, thinking-by-writing, and a few pictures along the way, the central theme remains the same:  Your life can be better tomorrow than it is today.  You can create your future, solve problems, impact eternity, and really live today.

This was never intended to be just a blog site, and I’m excited about new plans that are coming.  Soon, Lord willing, I will be developing the “web site” side of this ministry in which we offer a newly-rewritten LifeVesting book, other books and media, and live and online seminars.  In addition to that, we are already working on a web site for The LifeVesting Group, our professional counseling and coaching ministry.  More on that very soon.

But today we celebrate.  Or at least I do, and you get to peer in.  In thinking about what I could share in terms of a “best of” or “most popular,” I found a plug-in that helps me know how often different posts have been shared on Facebook, Twitter, or Google-Plus by you, the readers.  There could be many reasons why somebody clicks on a post or page, but only one reason they would share it – it must have meant something to them and they wanted others to see it as well.

So here’s a countdown of the top 11 most-shared posts over the past five years (there was a tie for 10th).  Please click on a few of these – maybe you can see what the excitement was all about.  (Of course, feel free to share them again!) [click to continue…]

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I know I’m not supposed to worry.


I know I should have more faith in God.


I know this should be an easy, clear decision.


I want to pursue this direction.


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.


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

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