Jealousy Sucks

…the life out of your days.

…the love out of your heart.

…the fun out of your dreams. [click to continue…]

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Loneliness Concept - 3D

What did rejection look like to you on the school playground?  What about Junior High?  College?

What did rejection look like after you got married, or started a family?  What does it look like today in your workplace or your worship space?

Describing your experience with rejection is like describing an encounter with a snake.  Each experience is a little different, and the beast appears differently in every scene.  But in each case the result leaves a story to tell and an emotional experience to re-live or respond to.

I’ve had my own experiences, of course.  And I’ve seen it played out in countless lives…

Like the 59-year-old woman who said of her then-76-year-old mother, “Just once I wish I could hear my mother say I did something right.”

Or the only-child high school student who was rejected by his friends because he had a helicopter mother before the term was ever invented.  She meddled, and her son, whom she was trying to help and advance, was hated all the more.

Then there was the businessman who was rejected in the business world because he was part of a revolutionary approach to financial services, but was obnoxious about it.

I knew a pastor once who was rejected by the deacons in his church. After years of service, they felt that it was time for a change. So they gave him a deadline and asked him to find somewhere else to go. When he was unable to, they cornered him about resigning, and he turned the rejection tables back on them. Unbeknownst to them, he showed up one Sunday morning with has car packed, he got up at sermon time, explained that he’d been asked to resign, and walked out the door.  Ouch.

It may surprise you to know that some of the most memorable and powerful success stories in history are people whose lives arose from the ashes of rejection.  [click to continue…]

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old deflated soccer ball isolated on white

Somewhere near you there’s a frustrated pastor whose tried-and-true methods for leadership or church growth he has spent much of a lifetime developing aren’t working anymore.  He’s too passionate to quit, but too tired to start over.

Somewhere down the road is an organization that once was the hallmark of success because of its ways of doing ministry or business.  The strategy it perfected was brilliant and worked when others failed.  Until it quit working as effectively.

Somewhere nearby a young man is giving up on everything he knew of the Faith as a boy.  Why? Because his boyhood faith doesn’t give him answers to his adult realities and temptations.  The problem is, he doesn’t yet have a man-sized faith to take its place.

In all three of these scenarios, as described in the previous post, somebody’s system was breaking down… And God has them right where He wants them. [click to continue…]



(A Conversation)



Yeah, quiet.  You ask how I am… I’m quiet.

In what way? Are you upset?

No.  I don’t think so. Just quiet.

Worse ways to be, I guess.

I suppose so.

And what brought you to this place of being so quiet?

I guess it all started with this sense of yearning – of longing for something more in my walk with the Lord.

That’s a good thing.

Sure, ‘til I realized what’s in the way.

Which is…? [click to continue…]

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Six Signs of a Spiritual Attack

“Well, how did it go?” Robin wanted to know.

“I just want to be teachable,” I said in a hollow, measured voice.

“What did he say?” she asked – getting ready to rise up in my defense.

What did he say, indeed?  The scene happened during my first pastorate.  Our church had grown quickly and had experienced changes, which is never an easy thing.  Now we were trying to establish our annual budget and define our biggest priorities.  And a man I’ll call Joe wanted to know if he could meet with me.

When we got together, the first words out of Joe’s mouth were, “It is obvious that you aren’t here to help our church grow, but to make a name for yourself.”


I listened mostly (although I did tell him I didn’t appreciate him judging my motives).  I listened as he talked about church’s former days.  I listened as he talked about troublesome people.  I listened as he offered his version of a solution to our problems.  I listened (and stared, frankly) as he “led” us in prayer – weeping all the while.

And I went home, still listening.

I Hate Criticism.

For years I hollered to whoever would listen that “there’s no such thing as constructive criticism.”

I was wrong. [click to continue…]


(The Squeeze, Part 2)

In the previous post I introduced the idea of the squeeze – that when life comes calling or the world comes knocking and we get squeezed, whatever is on the inside comes flying out.  Specifically, when life or the world squeezes, two things quickly become evident – what’s in your character (your decisions) and what’s in your heart (your desires).

That why Peter addresses this encouragement to a group of Christ followers who were living life in The Squeeze:

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:1-3, NIV).

When Our Flesh Demands Relief

People who are hurting instinctively crave relief.


Like Job, the tendency is to move from “Lord I’m trusting you for deliverance” to “Lord stop it now or explain yourself!

When we stubbornly hold onto the demand for God to change things, five kinds of behavior emerge. [click to continue…]


Trouble in the Waiting Room

by Andy Wood on June 5, 2010

in LV Cycle, Waiting

If you have been waiting longer than ten minutes, press eight. This will not speed up your call, but it will give you something to do while you wait.”(Message on an Airline Reservation Line)

“Waiting on the Lord is like sitting on a concrete bench.”  (Source unknown)

I’ve been known to get in trouble in waiting rooms.  Especially the examination room, where you sit there for God-only-knows-how-long before the doctor comes in.   The other day I was playing with something that looked like a collapsible chin warmer… until my wife informed me it was a barf bag.  And I’ve lost count of the number of latex glove turkeys I’ve made, or the number of peeks through those spiffy wall-mounted scopes.

And those doors that say, “Authorized personnel only”?  I just authorize myself.  I figure it’s just the doctors’ break room, where the really good snacks are.

I did say I’ve gotten in trouble, didn’t I?

There’s a different kind of waiting, however, where the stakes are much higher.  But the potential for trouble is just as real. [click to continue…]


Going Green: The Jealousy Test

by Andy Wood on September 16, 2009

in Hoarders, LV Alter-egos

jealousOkay, all you Facers, Spacers, and Twitter Chasers!  Have you had this little thrill yet?  You’re tooling and tweeting through Virtual Disneyworld, smiling and waving at the world… and then you see her (or him).

Your blood runs cold.

The Rolaids are calling.

You do a quick peek into their world, hoping to find some sort of misery.  The agony of their defeat will mean the thrill of your victory.

Bottom line:  you just don’t like ‘em.

But wouldn’t you know it?  That arrogant ass or deceiving cheater from your past is living sublimely.  No worries or cares, it seems.  And there it is… swelling up in all its greenness and meanness, beneath the veneer of your niceness and – dare I say it? – godliness.

Not a social networker?  Let’s start from this angle.

Trust your first instincts.  You and I are talking, and somewhere in the conversation I look at you and say, very kindly and sincerely, [click to continue…]


jackassA couple of weeks ago I asked an associate to pick me up me a cup of coffee when he went out for an afternoon break.  He did.  Since I take cream and sugar in my coffee, I looked all over the church for some form of sugar to put in it, and couldn’t find any anywhere. Even though there were at least three people who could have helped solve the problem, I didn’t ask for help.  I just poured out the coffee.  It felt better to feel sorry for myself than it did to solve the problem.

Self-pity stinks.

I wish I could tell you that this was the first time I had ever felt sorry for myself, but I’m sure you’d know better.  Truth is, at times I’m something of an artist at it.  Given the right mood, the right circumstances, and just the right amount of self-absorption, I can not only feel sorry for myself, I can influence you to do something to “make” me feel that way.

Like the time in Mrs. Trimble’s class in fourth grade when I kept whining and crying, “Nobody likes me.  Nobody!” [click to continue…]


The Chumps and the Chase

by Andy Wood on June 9, 2008

in Leadership, Life Currency

Angry PreacherIf there’s one thing I can’t stand (actually there are a few), it’s jealous, insecure, or bitter preachers.  Neurotic crybabies or arrogant kingdom builders, God help them and us when they’re forced to face their own “stuff.”

Imagine my surprise when I discovered I was one.

A few months ago, my son Joel wrote about a former pastor he had met who now owns a smoke shop.  He got burned by a church experience, and I guess he decided to keep the fire going.

I fired off a riff about ministry, and found myself using a compelling phrase to describe our calling – The Relentless Pursuit of the Glory of God.

That term kept resonating in my spirit.

Later the same night, I heard about a new church plant not far away, whose first two Sundays had doubled anything my church plant had done back in the day.


Couldn’t help it.  Well, maybe I could help it, but I didn’t want to.

We were going through a difficult season at the time, and here was some guy (actually a great guy) rocking and rolling on his church’s honeymoon.

As I went to bed, feeling sorry for myself for all our troubles and stresses, that original phrase kept coming back.  The Relentless Pursuit of the Glory of God. The Lord was reminding me of what ministry – and life – is all about.

[click to continue…]