Frankford and 82nd.  Sitting at the light.  Laura Kate (age almost-3) and I have been on an adventure.  And she is about to ask me a very important question.  But first, a slight rewind…

“Laura Kate, first we’ll go to the grocery store.  Then we’ll go by Grammy’s office and pick up some prizes she has for you.”

“That’s an awesome plan,” she says.

In between, she learns six (count ‘em) verses of an Easter song her uncle Joel and I wrote when he wasn’t much older than she is now.  Which brings us to the traffic light near our house on the way home.

“Papa,” says the voice in the back seat.  “Are you growed up?”

“What did you say?” I reply.  “Am I growed up?”

“Yes,” she says, very seriously.

“Yeah,” I mutter.  “I’m growed up.”

“Yay, Papa!  You did it!

Sometimes I wonder.

I wish it was that easy to claim maturity.  Sometimes I think I’m still a kid when it comes to such things.  And sometimes I feel, well, old.  But there’s a difference between growing up and growing old.  Peter Pan and his Lost Boys were only half right.

It’s OK to be a baby when you’re still a baby.  But there comes a time when the word of God and the world of people come together to shout, “Grow up!” After addressing the Corinthians as a pack of carnal children, Paul writes to the Ephesians that “we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).

How do you measure your maturity?  How do you know when you’re growing and when you’re floundering?  Let me hasten to say that maturity isn’t found in big words or fat bank accounts, or your ability to make babies or get a job (although keeping a job may impress a few people).

In gauging your maturity level, I have found five things that act as measuring rods for progress.  You are as mature as: [click to continue…]

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A couple of years ago I played around with the idea that maybe there are spiritual gifts – those unusual abilities that are so beyond-the-natural they had to come from the Holy Spirit – that aren’t mentioned in the Bible. The possibilities included gifts such as the gift of dogs, cough, receiving, and criticism.  You can find the whole list here.   

Good news, friends!  The SGC (that’s Spiritual Gifts Commissary for you uninitiated) has announced a fresh, lively shipment of new models for 2011.  I feel most certain you know at least one person with each of these. And who knows?  Your search for understanding of your own supernatural endowments just may end right here. 

Here in no certain order (except alphabetical), are ten MORE spiritual gifts you won’t find in the Bible… but maybe-just-maybe, when the Spirit (or something) is moving, you’ll see these manifestations: [click to continue…]

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An old fable passed down for generations (and doctored a little bit)…

An elderly man was traveling with a boy and a donkey.  As they walked through a village, the man was leading the donkey and the boy was walking behind.  The young people there said the old man was a fool for not riding, so to please them he climbed on the animal’s back.

When they came to the next village, the moms in the crowd said the old man was cruel to let the child walk while he enjoyed the ride.  To please them, he got off and set the boy on the donkey’s back and continued on his way.

In the third village, senior adults accused the child of being lazy for making the old man walk.  The suggestion was made that they both ride.  So the man climbed on and they set off again.

In the fourth village, the animal rights activists were indignant at the cruelty to the donkey because he was made to carry two people.

The frustrated man was last seen carrying the donkey down the road. [click to continue…]

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Bea, the Fishbowl, and Me

by Andy Wood on December 4, 2008

in Turning Points

(A Turning Point Story)

If being a pastor is like living in a fishbowl, then being a pastor in Abbeville was like swimming in a churning aquarium.

Beneath a florescent light.

That never goes out.

Now this is no mystery to the folks there; fact is, I think some of them are pretty proud of it.  We’d laugh about it when we weren’t crying about it or stamping out the latest edition of “I heard from a reliable source.”

I knew this wouldn’t be a typical assignment when I went for an interview weekend and Bobby Joe Espy opened the Q & A session by asking, “Preacher, how thick is your hide?”  I don’t remember what I said – something lame about leading with my heart.  But I remember that this was the first time I’d ever had a chill in my chest.

Now every small town presumes to know everybody else’s business, but here it was elevated to an art form.  Here people knew what you were doing and told you about it.  After they told somebody else about it first, of course.  They told me when my lights were on too late at night, or too early in the morning.  They told me when the grass behind the, uh, privacy fence was too tall.  And they told me every single time anybody had something to say that was of a critical nature.  In Abbeville they called it like they saw it.  And sometimes if they didn’t see it, they made it up.

Don’t guess my hide was very thick.

David Peterson was a great friend, which was helpful, since he chaired the committee that brought me and my very young family to the Wiregrass region of southeast Alabama. [click to continue…]

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