Dusk shilouette

The promise is so simple, so straightforward and true, it’s easy to dismiss it.

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

What if He meant just what He said? What if the circumstances and signals all around you were echoing the same refrain? Maybe it’s time to take Him up on His promise…

When it seems as though you’re arguing with everybody in sight, it’s time to draw near.

When you’re lost in a war of wills, and it feels as though the whole world is pushing against you, it’s time to draw near.

When you life is a continuous array of unacceptable disappointments, it’s time to draw near.

When divorce or disowning is not an option, but murder is looking pretty good, it’s time to draw near. [click to continue…]


Q – I am really backsliding in my relationship with God and I’m not really worshipping like I used to. What should I do? Please help.

There is more to life than trusting Christ as your Savior and waiting to die so you can show up in heaven.  He has designed a journey of growth, love, and intimacy that allows you to make choices today that will serve you in this life (the future) and the next (your eternal home in heaven).  It’s also possible, however, that you can waste your life and its opportunities for intimacy with the Lord.  That’s the basis of this question.

Every believer deals with this issue – what to do when we find ourselves drifting away from that connection with the Lord.  If somebody gave merit badges or degrees in this, I’d be at the front of the line!  Here are some things I have found to be helpful in reconnecting my life with God, reordering my priorities, and renewing my spiritual life. [click to continue…]


John Smoltz was famous for getting himself in trouble.

He’ll be in the Baseball Hall of Fame for the ways he could get himself out.

Smoltz didn’t always start well, but he knew what to do when he got himself into trouble.  He describes the mental process he would go through in his book, Starting and Closing.  At some point he would take his game to an entirely different level.  And the mental signal he would give himself:  Rally time.

That’s a theme that I’m seeing all over the world these days.  In one situation after another, we’ve gotten ourselves into trouble.  In baseball language, there’s one run in, the bases are loaded, and nobody out.

Rally time.

It’s rally time in places like Colorado and Pennsylvania, as people are looking to make sense out of the senseless and somehow create a world where kids can be safe.  But the rally comes from recognizing that our hope isn’t built on metal detectors and psychobabble, but on the peace of God that passes all understanding.

It’s rally time in places like Washington and state capitals everywhere, as incumbents try to keep their jobs and others try to take them away – all based on promises and politics.  But the rally comes from recognizing that our hope isn’t built on Republicans or Democrats, but on the government of the Lord God. [click to continue…]


He was careless in the conflict, and a bit presumptuous in the battle.  Unaware of the schemes or the true power of his enemies – unaware at times of who his enemies actually were – he went down, wounded in the battle.

This is not your typical military operation.  This is a spiritual battlefield, known for its invisible armies and stealth weapons.  Known also for its enormous array of spectators – some cheering you on from heaven, others just watching a battle they themselves should be engaged in.

Lying there, ashamed, in pain, and afraid, it’s easy for discouragement and fear to have the final word.  But deep in his spirit another wounded soldier’s testimony from long ago begins to stir his broken courage and will: [click to continue…]


Grab a pen and a legal pad.  You’ve got some writing to do, and you get one chance to get this right.  Soon your number’s going to be called, and there’ll be no more letters, no more encouraging, no more leading…

…no more living.

Everything you have worked for on this side of eternity is hanging in the balance.  And the guy you’ve picked as your successor – your standard bearer?

He’s AWOL.

Some people, when they burn out, act out.  This guy burned out, and hid out.

And you have one chance to light a fire under him before somebody, well, lights a fire under you, so to speak.  What would you say?  How would you say it?  Is this a time for force or finesse?  Rah-rah or sob-sob? [click to continue…]


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…]


Sand Castles and Dandelions

by Andy Wood on August 18, 2009

in Esteem, Life Currency, Love, Words

A famous writer once described a beach scene where two children, a boy and a girl, were building an elaborate sand castle near the water’s edge.  It had gates and towers and moats and internal passages.  Just when they nearly finished the project, a huge wave tumbled in and knocked the whole thing down.  Instead of bursting into tears because of losing their hard work, the girl and boy ran up the shore from the water, laughing and holding hands, and started work on another castle.

It seems so instinctive to children.  Take the most wonder-filled moments the day has to offer – a castle made of sand, or a dandelion just waiting to be carried by the wind – and look for someone to share it with in love.  But time and age have a way of turning our hearts if we let them.  Castle-building becomes the higher priority, and dandelions become annoying weeds.

Here is the author’s takeaway:

All the things in our lives, all the complicated structures we spend so much time and energy creating, are built on sand… Sooner or later, the wave will come along and knock down what we have worked so hard to build up.  When that happens, only the person who has somebody’s hand to hold will be able to laugh.

sand castlesLike anybody else who’s been around a while, I have my share of regrets.  One of them has been the tendency to walk away from relationships when it was time to “move up the beach and build the next castle.”  Fortunately, I’ve been blessed to have some people in my life who wouldn’t take “Good-bye” as the last word, and that’s a good thing.  Had it been left up to me, that relationship would have faded away.  I’m working on changing that.

In the previous post, I mentioned that even in an isolated prison, the Apostle Paul found a way to stay close to the people he loved.  In particular, he was a master at using words.  All throughout his life and ministry, this man knew just what to say or write to draw people to him, and to Christ.

Maybe we can learn some things from Paul’s example.  Once you know who’s in your heart (or who you’d like to have there), here are some ways to keep them close: [click to continue…]


san-andreas-faultI don’t know geology, but I know generally what they’re talking about when they use the word, “fault.”  Somewhere deep in the foundations of the earth are places where cracks produce shifts at times in the earth’s foundation.  We experience them as earthquakes.  Destructive and deadly, they leave scars on lives and landscapes that time alone doesn’t fix.  All the result of faults that,  may have seemed nonexistent a day earlier.

Faults show up in the Bible, too.  “Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other,” James says, “so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results” (James 5:16, LB).  First thing I notice is that even “righteous men” have faults.  And who better to pray for our faults than someone who is painfully aware of their own?

Of course, we have other names for faults… character flaws, weaknesses, besetting sins, vices.  [click to continue…]