Growth

It’s been more than 40 years, but the scene hasn’t changed all that much.  Downhill run, dirt road, just north of the family farm.  Back in the day I was driving my Granddaddy’s pickup and my grandmother was in the passenger seat. I don’t remember the occasion, but most likely we had taken Lucy or Dot or some other domestic help back to their house, and we were headed back.

Just as I cruised down the dirt road, flexing my pride in the manly art of driving, the pickup slipped off the road into a shallow little ditch.

“Ditch” is too harsh a word.  More like a little soft trough where rain water would gently ease down the hill. Really wasn’t that big a deal.

“Oh, no, we’re stuck,” Grandmother said immediately.

Ridiculous!  It wasn’t deep, we were doing downhill, and all I had to do was give it a little gas, turn the wheel, and…

Well crud.  We were stuck. [click to continue…]

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Archer Aiming

In the world of archery, comfortable bows never launch arrows.

Until the bow is stretched to near-breaking, the arrow never fulfills its purpose or reaches its target.

I fear that our craving for comfort may be slowly killing us all because we’ve redefined the term. [click to continue…]

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Highway

Imagine your life as various points on the highway.  Fast Lane, Slow Lane, Shoulder, Ditch.

And at any given time, in any given area, you can be in one of those four.

Living in the Fast Lane means you’re getting where you’re going. You’re fulfilling your purpose.

In the Slow Lane you have a lot of movement, but you never quite seem to get there, wherever “there” is.

On the Shoulder, your “engine” is running, but you’re not moving ahead at all.

In the Ditch means you’ve crashed or are stuck, and without help you aren’t going anywhere.

Having punched my card in all four locations, I can tell you we’re all a mixed bag. You can be idling on the shoulder in one area, cruising in another, and crashed out in a third. So let’s break it down a little more. [click to continue…]

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path(Fumes, Form, and Fashion, Part 2)

Something in the woods near his grandfather’s farm seems to call to Adam. Ever since he was a little boy and his dad took him hiking or hunting there, this is the place where Adam, now a father himself, returns.  It doesn’t happen nearly as often or nearly enough these days. After all, Adam has responsibilities and stresses, and there never seems to be enough time.

For Phillip, it means a return to old disciplines that kept him in good shape throughout his 20s.  Now pushing 40, the problem for Phillip isn’t knowing what to do. It’s finding the will to actually do it.

Jacob follows the trail of his biblical namesake.  Just as the Lord called the patriarch back to Bethel – a place where he had previously encountered the Lord – so also Jacob is sensing a stirring to return to a place of spiritual life and growth he has known in the past.

Each of these are examples of a powerful and important tool of renewal and restoration, regardless of who you are.  But this is particularly true of men.  It’s why you often hear football coaches talk about “going back to the fundamentals.”  The biblical language mentions things like “remembering the former days.”  Check this out: [click to continue…]

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Repeat icon

For the last several years I have replaced the idea of New Year’s Resolutions with a focus on one single idea – my one word  to help frame the kind of direction I sense the Lord leading me to steer my life toward in the coming year. Previous ideas for My One Word have included Finish, Lean, and One. What’s interesting is that those ideas are still, to one degree or another, relevant and a part of my soul’s DNA.

Last year the theme was Advance! You can read more about that here.  And let me just say, advance I did! On three fronts in particular, 2015 represented major moves forward, mostly in areas of ministry and career development.

One really good thing that arose out of that has been the establishment of LifeVesting International – a mission organization designed to mobilize the church to multiply the Church. We are launching our first series of trips this year to Thailand, and I am thrilled to see where that is going.

May I just say, however, that by the end of the year, I was about advanced out. Frankly, I started the year not nearly as enthusiastic about the One Word idea as I had in previous years. And in terms of what the One Word would actually be, there was nothing really compelling or inspiring.

I thought about the word “READ” because every year at this time I get inspired to read more.

That deafening sound you hear of silence… or crickets… yeah, that’s about how much enthusiasm and passion that idea generated.

But to this point – a few days into January – there was nothing compelling.

And that may actually be the point. [click to continue…]

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Sequoia

I’ve received just under 10,000 calls, texts, or emails over the last few weeks, all wanting to know the same thing:  How’s the little sequoia tree doing?

So rather than answer it both all of them at once, I thought I’d give you an update here.

It’s ugly. [click to continue…]

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Making the right choice

It’s been a couple of years now since I repented of New Year’s resolutions.  I knew it was time when somebody asked me about mine a few years ago and I said, “Oh, you know, the usual.”

(Totally irrelevant side note:  Wouldn’t be funny to go into a gym today or tomorrow and find some dude who’s built like a tank and who looks like he’s lifting one and say to him as those muscles rip through his shirt – “Ya’ know, those New Year’s resolutions never really work.”  Anyway…)

That’s why when somebody introduced me to Mike Ashcroft’s idea and book a few years ago it really hit a nerve.  The idea is very simple:  Build your year around one simple word – one theme that describes who or where you want to be at the end of the year.  What amazes me is how easy it is to land on a theme based on what I call my descants of the soul – the themes that seem to be repeating themselves in my life recently.

In 2011, my one word was Finish!  I didn’t finish a lot, but it was exciting to think about.  Lean was the word in 2013.   And my one word for 2014 was One.  Both have been helpful in shaping my thinking and focus for the year.

This one is different.  It’s more of a call to action, and frankly, a part of me doesn’t like it.  I’ve reached a point in my life where a significant part of me is screaming out for quiet, simplicity, retreat, and life on the porch.

Not time for that yet. [click to continue…]

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A Day in the Life of a Boy

by Andy Wood on March 17, 2014

in 100 Words, Photos

To forge the skills of teamwork, timing, and synchronized face planting…

To turn the most ordinary of fixtures into an adventure in the making…

Boys in Dryer

[click to continue…]

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Are You a Rebounder or a Wallower?

by Andy Wood on October 4, 2013

in Books and Music

Rebounders-Cover-300x456I’m fascinated by people that Rick Newman calls “Rebounders.”   Maybe that’s because about once every four years, on average, I find myself punched in the gut by some sort of setback or in-my-face adversity. Sometimes they’re of my own super-talented making. At other times the setbacks come in the form of pain dished out by others, significant grief situations, or life circumstances that are beyond anyone’s immediate control.

To be clear, I’m not referring to annoyances like the allergy attack I endured this morning or the fender benders I’ve lost count of over the years. When I say setback, I mean that somewhere I’ve been body-slammed and whatever I thought progress was has come to a complete halt.

That’s why I’ve been fascinated by Newman’s book Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to SuccessRick is an award-winning journalist and has spent considerable time researching both the science and the stories of those who have suffered greatly, yet come back powerfully.

Along the way, Rick observed two kinds of people – Rebounders and Wallowers. Rebounders are those who have the skills to bounce back from adversity.  Wallowers “tend to be the people who get stuck… and don’t understand why and who remain convinced that their tribulations are somebody else’s fault.”

In setting the table for the stories he tells, Newman suggests four quick ways you can tell if you’re a Rebounder or a Wallower. I’d like to add a fifth from a spiritual perspective.  Oh… and if you don’t mind bracing for bad news, Rick says there’s a 67% chance you’re a Wallower. But the good news is that you have the power to change that.

So how ‘bout it? Are you a Rebounder or a Wallower?  Here’s where to look for answers: [click to continue…]

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pha112000020I’m a big believer in cross training – especially since no less than Solomon said that “a wise man will hear and increase in learning.”  Under the banner of “all truth is God’s truth,” I make my living helping people find truth and wisdom in places where they may not otherwise look. That starts with scripture, of course. But even scripture sometimes points us to learning from other sources.  Check this out:

Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise… (Proverbs 6:6).

So in the spirit of being teachable, I have previously suggested that there are things you can learn from an orange salesman,  a party crasher, a baseball franchise, a ghost house, and a fired CEO.

Today’s teacher is a little less dramatic and a lot more in line with Solomon’s insect example.  [click to continue…]

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