What do you tend to worry about?

Tell me “nothing” and I won’t believe you.

Anyway, that’s my line.  For years I’ve told people, legitimately, that I’m not a worrier. I HATE fear. You can wake up any of my adult children at 3:00 in the morning (assuming they’re asleep) and say, “Complete this sentence: ‘We don’t make decisions…’”

They’ll reply, “based on fear,” roll over and go back to sleep.

We’ve hammered that into them, and I love to see them living that out in fearful times like these.

That said… well… true confession coming…

I do that sometimes.

[click to continue…]

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Comforting friend. Woman consoling her sad friend.

I got chided a little this morning for good reason.  Some desperately hurting people had written comments to this post, sharing the depths of their pain, fear, frustration and even torment, and I had failed to respond to any of them.

And though it’s a little foolish to lump the hurts of people all together in one reply, I did. You can find this response also in the comments section there (#10 added later), but I thought I would share it with a larger readership with the hope that maybe it would be an encouragement to you or someone you care about. God knows it isn’t the last word on pain. It’s just what I’ve learned through some of my own.

Below is my reply. [click to continue…]

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Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces.” -Matthew Henry

You’re thinking you must have done something terrible.  Or maybe that God’s been playing favorites, and you’re not one of them.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re going through adversity, you seem to be surrounded by people whose lives seem so easy?  So effortless?

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to feel offended – actually offended – when you’re plowing through the tough stuff?  As if God or life or the world owed you something and hasn’t paid up?

Let’s face it – nobody gets up in the morning yearning for a hard day.  Nobody prays for more pain.  And yet go to any source of earthly or heavenly wisdom, and you’ll see somebody talking about the pure value of adversity.  Let’s just start at the top:

It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes (Psalm 119:71).

Speak for yourself, holy man!  This is twenty-first century America, where God owes us an easy life.  We’re on his winning team and all that.


Think again.

Some of the most profound wisdom you can ever attain will come at the other end of affliction, which is a general word for whatever crap you’re going through.  If it hurts, it’s affliction.  I know, yours is unique and your situation is different.  I know – believe me, I know – that your pain is real and you’d do just about anything for some relief.

I also know that if you’re right in the middle of the affliction right now, you may probably want to save this for future reference.  Sometimes it’s hard to see the abundant treasure when all you can do is feel the fire of the furnace.  But I want to tell you that there truly is beauty, even in your moments of deep pain.  Learning from the experience of the psalmist, you can find ways that what looks bad today can lead to extraordinary goodness tomorrow.

What’s so good about affliction? [click to continue…]

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faceplantDid a face plant a couple of weeks ago.  On concrete.  It was ugly, and so was I for a few days.

The irony of the situation was that I was bolting from one meeting to another, with a cross-town drive in-between.  And the place I was in a hurry to?

A radio interview about the mental health of people in the ministry.

I wasn’t exactly expecting to have my own tested in the process.  But that’s the price you pay when you’re trying to move at the speed of light on a sidewalk designed for the speed of pedestrians.

For just a minute I thought I was seeing the light of eternity.  Turns out I was just seeing stars.

Aside from the wounds to my forehead, knees, hands and pride, I did learn a few things, such as what an “orbital nerve” is.  Oh, and that there is more than one kind of black eye.

But the most important thing I was reminded of is that my ability to maintain my rhythm and step in this world of the falling is no comparison to God’s ability to hold me, heal me, and shepherd me home.  Regardless of how I may stumble in a temporal world, in the one that matters most, He won’t let me fall. [click to continue…]

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Child Heart

We all were born with the capacity to dream.  To envision a life that could be… that will be… and the pathways to get there.  To imagine a tomorrow that’s better…





“Be fruitful and multiply,” He said.  That’s the stuff that dreams are made of.  We dream of fruitfulness.  We dream of abundance.

But life on this side of the Garden sometimes aims our dreams toward the mirror.  Nighttime comes to the soul, and our imagination gets lost in what once was.  Of those we once dreamed with or about, but now for whatever reason are lost to us.  And it hurts like hell. [click to continue…]

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Callie has been seeking the Lord a lot lately.  That’s because not very many people are seeking Callie, and the loneliness hurts.  Badly.  Truth be told, Callie sometimes seeks the Lord to give Him a piece of her mind.  But she has developed the kind of relationship with God where that level of honesty is common.

Callie believes.  But her faith is being tested, almost as much as Stephen’s.

Stephen feels as though he’s two steps past the edge of the ledge, and “all” he has to stand on is the promises of God.  But Stephen wants more.  He wants some evidence – a little sight to go with his faith.  He’s willing to do anything for God, but he wants to know exactly what that “anything” is, and feels terribly insecure in the face of an unclear future.

Stephen believes.  But his faith is being tested, almost as much as John and Julie. [click to continue…]

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The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm. . . The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope. (C. H. Spurgeon)

In East Tennessee a mother suffers a broken leg and a devastated heart as a tornado claims the life of her baby.

In West Alabama a couple hears a noise and opens the front door of their home.  Seconds later, there is no more home, and no more couple.

123 tornadoes, so I hear,  in one day.  The death toll at this point:  319.

Meanwhile, on the same day, in East Texas a spiritual champion and one of the most respected leaders of his generation collides with destiny in the form of a tractor trailer.

And as the world reels and the grieving begins in earnest, a rude reminder comes collecting – the winds blow and the rains fall on the just and the unjust, and none of us has any guarantee of tomorrow.

Does that anger you?  Me, too.

Does it seem unfair?  I get that.  Why do tornados never seem to level prisons?

We can huff on our high horse all we want, but guess what?  Neither you nor I will change the fact that life is unfairly short and at times unbearably hard.

Is that God’s fault?  I’m sure we’ll get our dose of that from the usual sources.  How come nobody ever “blames” God when money’s in the bank, gas is cheap and the ocean is calm? [click to continue…]

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(Tense Truth:  Every believer occupies a position of victory and authority because of the finished work of Christ. But we can position ourselves to fall victim to Satan – an already-defeated foe.)

He’s the player to be named later.  The unwelcome guest at any crisis, the unspoken stalker behind every fear.  He’s the artful author of your doubtful thoughts about God and the persistent reminder that you should just go ahead and quit. 

And before a wise apostle concludes his note of encouragement to suffering believers, he puts in a plug to remind you and me…

This lion doesn’t sleep tonight.  Or any night.

Pull back the Curtain of the Seen in the Land of the Obvious, and you will find that behind every frustration, accompanying every conflict, and beside every expression of trust in God, a battle is being waged.  And you’re in it. [click to continue…]

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Playing Hurt

by Andy Wood on November 1, 2010

in Ability, Enlarging Your Capacity, Life Currency, LV Cycle

Saw a strange thing the other day.  We’d driven to Abilene to watch the Hardin-Simmons Cowboys defend the Wilford Moore trophy against local rival McMurray for the 20th straight year.  Division III football at its finest.

HSU had already knocked out the starting quarterback.  Number 2 wasn’t faring much better.  Scrambling around in the backfield, he was nailed at midfield for about a 12-yard loss.

McMurray lined up for the next play.  Shotgun formation. All of a sudden, the quarterback called timeout, turned toward the sideline, and ripped his helmet off.  Next thing I know, he’s on his knees, then hands-and-knees, and he wasn’t praying.

Hmmm.  Maybe he was. [click to continue…]

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Jason’s Story Could be Yours

by Andy Wood on May 24, 2010

in Turning Points

(A Turning Point Story)

Have you ever met someone who, in a matter of a few minutes, made you so mad you wanted to reach across a Pizza Hut booth and slap some sense into him?  Or lay hands on him… by the throat?  Or baptize him with a pitcher of Pepsi (‘cause he’s not worth wasting a pitcher of real Coke on)? 

If you answered yes to any of those, you may have once been in youth ministry, too.  Or you’re just a little weird when it comes to Pizza Hut.

This is a story with a surprise ending.  This is Jason’s story.  And it could be yours… or the next teenager you meet. [click to continue…]

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