Grace

The Unfolding of Grace – My 2021 Prayer for You

by Andy Wood on December 25, 2021

in Prayers

With the passing of another year of joy mixed with sorrow, clarity colliding with uncertainty, and satisfaction dancing with longing, I pray that you would know in beautiful new ways how grace works.

I pray that you would find delight in being chosen by a Heavenly Father for a plan no less significant than Mary or Joseph, and that you would discover this year what the continuous unfolding of that plan can mean personally.

I pray that you would find the personal care of a God who orders your steps and is far more aware of the details of our lives than you or I could recognize.

I pray that in the trials and struggles that await in the coming year, you will find that Patient Friend who sticks closer than a brother and makes intercession for you at that right hand of the Father ever and always.

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An Unholy Beginning to Holy Week

by Andy Wood on April 15, 2019

in Tense Truths

This is embarrassing.

No precedent for this.

The late George Carlin once said that the funniest things happen at the times you’re supposed to be the most serious. He was prophetic.

No class in seminary, no 32 years of church leadership ever prepared me for this dilemma.

I know it’ll bring theologians out of their ivory towers and critics far and wide. But someone (a fool probably) once said that confession is good for the soul. So here goes.

It was an unholy beginning to Holy Week.

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They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:8)

The nature of the shameful is to hide from God when we sense He’s moving toward us.

The assumption of the fallen is to assume that the Great Unfallen would not pick us up. [click to continue…]








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Problem

It’s the elephant in your room. It may well be the first thing that people who know you think of when asked about you.  But maybe it’s been a part of your architecture so long, you’ve put a lamp shade on it and called it decorations.

I’m talking about something all of us have.  The things we wish were different, but check back with us five years from now and our “elephant” is still there.  It’s what I call our PWGA.  The Problem that Won’t Go Away.

You may refer to it in different language. You may use words like “weakness,” or “cross to bear.”  By now you may address it as the “same old same old” or as I did once in reference to my New Year’s resolutions:  “Oh, you know, the usual.”

For many people, their PWGA is something that is heart-rending. Something they’ve asked or even begged God to fix, heal, or otherwise change. And yet the PWGA remains.

For other people, a PWGA is a problem requiring a solution they aren’t willing to apply.  I know two words that can fix some people’s PWGA:  “I’m sorry.”  Or their nuclear cousin:  “I was wrong.”  But that’s too high a price for some people to pay. They’d rather live with the problem.

Some people have PWGAs that they are convinced have solutions. But they haven’t yet found those solutions and don’t know how to leverage their relationship with God to address it.

By now you probably have one or more of your own PWGAs floating around in your mind. Hold that thought. I want to introduce you to another guy. [click to continue…]








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2016ASE

This is a 2016 silver dollar.

It’s official, struck by the United States Mint. [click to continue…]








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Boxing Gloves

How would it change the way you approached God if you knew – with confidence – that He was not angry with you? Or even arguing, wrestling or wearying you?

Take a look at this promise:

“For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry;
For the spirit would grow faint before Me,
And the breath of those whom I have made” (Isaiah 57:16).

The essential Old Testament story of the relationship between God and man is one of contention. The Lord had His standards – His Law. Man had his willful rebellion and sinful nature – so bad, even the finest of heroes is revealed as deeply flawed.

But in the verse above the Lord reveals another side to His character, and promises another kind of relationship. It will be one not based on contention or anger, but on revival and rebuilding.

I thought you should know today that this promise has been fulfilled. God is not contending anymore. He’s out of the wrestling business. [click to continue…]








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Gratitude

Come on, admit it… when you first saw this title you started hearing the old hymn in your head, didn’t you?

I once was lost, but now I’m found,
Was blind, but now I see.

If not, I’ll bet you are now.

With apologies to Philip Yancey for borrowing the title of his excellent book,  I had a curious collision with “amazing” the other day and thought I’d share it. It started when I read this simple greeting from the Apostle Paul to a group of Christians in Corinth.

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus.

Isn’t that sweet?

Any believer anywhere can testify, as John Newton and the Corinthians could, that the grace of God has been given to us by Christ Jesus. And if this verse had no other context or backdrop it would be precious enough. But our thinking about it would soon lose its edge. Sure, everybody who knows Christ can testify of the grace of God.

Next!

Sure, we were “wretches” and now we’re saved. But that was a long time ago for a lot of us. In the immortal words of Janet Jackson, what have you done for me lately, Grace?

The answer to that – Grace in the present, not the past – is what’s so amazing about grace. [click to continue…]








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When Epic Failure Becomes Matchless Beauty

by Andy Wood on April 8, 2015

in 100 Words, Photos

IMG_6744

This is an epic photographic failure.

A tight shot of these delightful flowers on a sunny spring day became anything but.

The shutter fired way too fast; the results were embarrassing.

Dark.

Dreary.

A disaster.

Hello “delete” button.

But then my photo failure, in the domain of editing software, became something completely different. [click to continue…]








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falling man

Honestly, I was a little disappointed.

“Gonna be old school today,” I thought to myself as the choir started in on Dottie Rambo’s classic, “He Looked Beyond My Faults,” set to the Irish tune of “Danny Boy.”

When it comes to church music, I can be nostalgic, but I’m not much of an old school guy.  I’m more of a “sing a new song to the Lord” type.  So on this day I settled down on the pew to politely smile and nod away my mild disappointment.

I think God had a nod of his own.

It wasn’t the first time I had heard the words – Lord knows, the song was written in 1968 and was a regular fixture in my teenage years.  Every traveling music evangelist with a reel-to-reel tape recorder, every AM radio station blaring out gospel favorites, every traveling duo, trio, or quartet, they all did this song.

But on this day, just a few weeks ago, I heard – as in, heard with the heart – a line that shook me to the core.  This is literally what I wrote in my notebook: [click to continue…]








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Against the Wind

It’s one of the loneliest of all encounters,
The most agonizing of all relationships,
Where it seems as though the very air you breathe
Pushes hard against you as you try to move forward.
Yet move you must.
The calling is too strong…
The need is too great…
Press on …
Press on against the wind. [click to continue…]








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