The Popcorn Tree

by Andy Wood on September 5, 2008

in Enlarging Your Capacity, LV Cycle, Turning Points

The LifeVesting Cycle

1. Allocate your resources.
2. Explore the possibilities.
3. Follow your passion
4. Execute your plan.
5. Protect your investment.

6. Enlarge your capacity

When I was still a kid, my dad built a flower box for my mom. We got some nice, rich soil from a place behind our house where we had a lot of mulch and trees. She planted some flowers in the box, and we were excited to see what would come out.

What came out was something that at first looked like a weed. But this was no weed. It was a tree. A popcorn tree, my dad said.

I was entranced. It was my first sense of fatherhood and stewardship, all rolled into one.

If you aren’t familiar with them, popcorn trees, or Chinese tallows, grow in moist climates. They grow rapidly, and can get pretty big. They make great shade and ornamental trees, and in the fall, their seeds split open to appear like popcorn.

I watched this little tree take off, and soon we transplanted it from the flower box to the front yard. We got more and more into trees, and soon found four more popcorn trees – then some redbuds and dogwoods. I had this sense of pride and ownership in all of them, but none more than the original – the queen of the yard – as she quickly grew taller than the eaves of our house.

Then one day the unthinkable happened. I came up the street to my house, and found the most horrific sight. Someone (my dad) had taken shears and whacked my tree off at about six feet. The queen of the yard now had a crew cut.

It was ugly.



“Pruning,” he called it.

“Disaster” was what I called it.

Of course, my dad knew a whole lot more about trees and all things agricultural than I ever will. (I once asked him, “How’d you get so smart?” He said, “I keep my ears open and my mouth shut.”)

Anyway, the queen began to reshape. To spread. To grow, not just taller, but shapelier, even more beautiful.

This life lesson became even more applicable to me as I grew spiritually. [click to continue…]


Lone RangerIt’s not enough to be a team player.  To get things done, to be a leader, you’ll have to be a team builder.  Together has great power, and an isolated Christian has a fool for a companion.

A Stanford Business School study bears that out.  Researchers examined the qualities that companies look for in promoting young managers toward senior executive positions. The study concluded that one of the most important qualities required for great success in leadership is the ability to put together a team and function as a good team player. Since all work is ultimately done by teams, and the managers’ output is the output of the team, the ability to select team members, set objectives, delegate responsibility and get the job done, was central to success in management.

That’s bad news for all the Lone Ranger types.  But hey, even he had Tonto!

Together has power in four dimensions:

1.  Synergy.
Synergy is the concept that one plus one equals three.  You can do the work of one, and so can I.  But together, we can do the work of many times more.  That flies in the face of conventional wisdom.  Maybe you can do it better by yourself in the immediate circumstances, but in the long run, it’s always more productive to go together.

You’re probably not going to hear this at church Sunday, so let me go ahead and tell you now:  [click to continue…]


Okay, first take a look at the following 60-second video.  SPOILER ALERT BELOW!  Then click on “Read the rest of this entry” if you’re on the home page and let’s talk about it.

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[click to continue…]


Tom Brady’s Search

by Andy Wood on January 29, 2008

in Principle of Eternity

BradyThis Sunday Tom Brady will lead the New England Patriots toward the pinnacle of NFL success – a fourth Super Bowl win, riding the wave of an unprecedented undefeated season. He is one of the most adored and admired players in football history. On top of that, he has been heralded as America’s Most Eligible Bachelor by “Entertianment Tonight” and a host of others who know this kind of thing.

And he’s anything but satisfied.

In a December 2007 interview on “60 Minutes”, Brady got honest and vulnerable. Take a look. If you are a Christian, your temptation will be to preach to Tom Brady. Before you give in to that urge, I suggest you let Tom Brady preach to you.

  [click to continue…]