Sovereignty of God

Daily News Headline

Back in the late sixties and early 70s we gathered around our TV sets with the three available channels on Monday nights for Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in on NBC.

One of the repeated gags on the lightning-fast show was the old joke from the diner, “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.” I remember in one episode, the waiter is behind the counter and seven or eight people sitting at the bar say, one right after another, “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.” Whoever was playing the waiter went down the counter, spewing out one punch line after another. Sorry, can’t find the YouTube clip for that, but it went something like this:

There’s a fly in your soup? Keep it down sir, or they’ll all be wanting one.

There’s a fly in your soup? Sorry sir, guess I forgot it when I removed the other three.

There’s a fly in your soup? Then we’ve served you too much soup, the fly should be wading.

There’s a fly in your soup? Couldn’t be, sir. The cook used them all in the raisin bread.

There’s a fly in your soup? It’s OK, Sir, there’s no extra charge!

There’s a fly in your soup? No sir, that’s a cockroach, the fly is on your steak.

There’s a fly in your soup? What do you expect? It’s fly soup.

Call me weird, but that’s one of the first things I thought of when I read the headline of the New York Daily News in the immediate wake of the devastating shootings in San Bernadino – yet another American city whose name has become synonymous with mass murder.

GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS, the headline blasted, riffing on and ripping the condolence statements of Republican presidential candidates. [click to continue…]

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The University of Wisconsin Marching Band appears in the 122nd Rose Parade, themed "Building Dreams, Friendships," in Pasadena January 1, 2011.

I grew up in the true home of Mardi Gras. And being in the high school band back in the day, we marched in our share of Mardi Gras parades. It was a nice way to raise money for the band, contribute to local community life, and to create some space between the floats so they didn’t run into each other. Plus, we helped contribute to festive atmosphere of Carnival season.

I had a pretty interesting role in all this, because I was the Drum Major – the guy in the fuzzy hat that directs the band on the street as they march.

Which means I spent a lot of my time marching backwards through the streets of Mobile.

There are two things you learn by marching backwards on a five-mile parade route. First, it’s always better to be at the front of the parade than the back. Why?

Horses. Lots and lots of cancer-free-and-proud-of-it horses, who exist on a high-fiber diet.

Need I say more? [click to continue…]

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Wreck 2

Why?

It’s the favorite question of three-year-olds, because at three you’re still innocent enough to believe it always merits an answer.

But as time passes and our “whys?” become more sophisticated, we begin to understand that there are often multiple layers and perspectives of answers to that question.

Then sometimes there is no answer at all.  At least no answer that will ever satisfy our demand to know what on earth (or heaven or hell) is going on.

I don’t know why, and probably never will, somebody decided to stop dead still with no lights of any kind on in the fast lane of a freeway in New Orleans – just around a little curve.

I don’t know why, and probably never will, that had to take place just ahead of me.

I don’t know why, if such an appointment was necessary, it couldn’t have taken place during one of the many times I’ve cruised that stretch of highway alone, instead of when I was driving with my daughter and two grandsons.

I don’t know why, and probably never will, that high-speed rear-end collision turned into a hit-and-run.  I hit and he ran, never to be seen or heard from again. [click to continue…]

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Broken RoadThis is a story about a father and son.

About a pathway to prosperity and strength.

About how that pathway separated them, then brought them back together again.

It’s a story of shattered dreams, unspeakable grief, profound loneliness, and the ultimate family reunion.

This is the story of the Broken Road, and how God used it in two people’s lives to rewrite history – theirs, and yours.

Psalm 105 contains an interesting description of the father, Jacob:

Israel also came into Egypt;
Thus Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
And [God] caused His people to be very fruitful,
And made them stronger than their adversaries.

Sounds simple enough.  But let me ask you a question. If you were going to write a plan to get somebody to a place of fruitfulness and strength, how would you script it?

Start with a dream, maybe?

Then a few targeted objectives?

Maybe a good strategic plan, with a collaborative partnership or two?

Throw in some hefty funding, maybe some high-dollar training, and a few little victories to establish momentum, and you’re on your way, right?

That’s not exactly how this story went down.  [click to continue…]

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Sheriene Harris was looking forward to her dad coming to stay with her.  Then the two of them were going to take her son to football camp in the summer.

They had plans.

Instead, her father, age 70, had a urinary tract infection and needed to go to the hospital.  There he had a massive heart attack and died.

“I felt that he had so much more life to live,” Sheriene said.  “God, what happened?”

It didn’t make sense.

“All I kept saying to God was, “WE HAD PLANS!”

Apparently God had other plans.

What do you do when your plans collide with God’s?  Especially when your plans are noble, life-affirming, loving, or even kingdom-building? [click to continue…]

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So many random thoughts or snippets of wisdom (or something)… so little time.  Here are seven more ideas that are still in my “oven”.  And if you’re a sucker for these kinds of things, and just can’t get enough from Facebook or Twitter, check this out.  Or maybe this or this.

Not long ago I read about this great procrastination test on the Psychology Today website.  The test helps you target patterns of procrastination, then do something to change them.  I clicked on the link and left it on my browser for a couple of days until I could get to it.  Yes… I procrastinated taking the procrastination test.  Until the browser locked up and I had to restart it… and lost the test.  Ugh.  The good news is, I found it again (thanks, Google).  The bad news is, I’m still procrastinating.  If you’d like to load it up and procrastinate taking it with me, you can find it here. [click to continue…]

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The Scenic Route

by Andy Wood on January 30, 2010

in Following Your Passion, LV Cycle, Tense Truths, Waiting

A rewrite of an old (and probably true, since I heard a preacher tell it) story… 

What do you do when you know God’s call on your life is vocational evangelism, and your wife dies, leaving you with two sons, ages 8 and 10?  Will Martin decided to seek out a way jto be both Dad and faithful evangelist.  He rearranged his schedule to make sure he was never gone more than four days at a time, and made arrangements for a highly-trusted caretaker.  And he made himself a promise:  whenever he’d been away overnight, he would always bring his sons a special gift.

Then came the day that Will was wheels-up on the plane and it dawned on him:  he’d forgotten to pick up something for his boys.  So Will conceived a plan.

The boys were so ready to see their dad, and so excited to get inside his suitcase.

“Don’t even bother, guys,” Dad said.  “There’s nothing in there.  This one’s special.  [click to continue…]

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(Reconciling Your Dreams with God’s Plan)

conflictOnce upon a time, a young man had a dream – a prophetic dream.  He dreamed that he had two homes, his own boat, and would travel internationally and be a blessing to many people.  This could only mean one thing!  Obviously God was calling him into the business world, where he would make a lot of money and use his wealth to make the world a better place. 

After seeking some counsel and getting confirmation that he was headed in the right direction, he changed his college major to business and prepared for a life of benevolent wealth management.

 Then he met her.  [click to continue…]

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Seven or eight years ago, I was taking a shuttle from the Founders Inn Hotel on the edge of Regent University down to the shoreline in Virginia Beach.  It was just the driver and me, and to make conversation, I asked him, “Do you know where London Bridge Baptist Church is?”

“Sure,” he said.  It’s not far from here.  You know somebody there?

“No.  But I went there on my very first mission trip.”

“Why would anybody,” he wanted to know, “come to Virginia Beach on a mission trip?”

That night I didn’t know how to answer him – this man who lives in the shadow of Pat Robertson and CBN, Rock Church, and a host of other citadels of Evangelicalism.  Today I think I do.  It was the Perfect Form.

The Proposition

“Mission ‘73” it was called.  I caught a glimpse of an announcement in our church bulletin.  A youth choir mission trip to Virginia Beach, VA, for students who had completed the ninth grade or older.  Hey, I loved to travel and barely made the age cutoff, so I was sold!  I was still a spiritual newbie, and didn’t really know very many people.  But I was undeterred.

Mark Stone, the pastor of London Bridge at the time, was an old friend of my pastor.  We would go to this crossroads of vacationers, military personnel, and growing suburbanites and conduct Backyard Bible Clubs, help lead out in a church revival, and witness along the Boardwalk and beach along the Atlantic.

The Cast

I was among the youngest – and spiritually greenest –of the 64 or so to go on this adventure.  I was surrounded by people who were older, more established, and way more sure of themselves.  I certainly can’t remember them all, but the list included: [click to continue…]

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Limitations and Letdowns

by Andy Wood on May 14, 2009

in Insight, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Waiting

(The Four Faces of Disappointment – Part 2)

d0001231I’m not asking for much.  I just want all my expectations fulfilled, and a complete removal of all limitations.

Of course… then I wouldn’t need God.  Then I’d BE God.

Disappointments are a startling, sometimes rude reminder that the job of God of the Universe has already been filled.

Yesterday I mentioned that in my own experiences of painful disappointment, like the experience of the children of Israel, four “faces” of disappointment have emerged.  The first two were delays and distressing people.  But I have found two other ways that God deliberately allows us to “feel the burn.”

3.  Dead Ends

These have to do with measurable limitations – things like life expectancy, dollars, and distance.  Dead ends often lead us to question God’s integrity, because He seems to be contradicting Himself.

It’s like one man said, “I thought becoming a Christian was the end of all my troubles.”  It is – the front end!

Examples of dead ends are everywhere: [click to continue…]

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