Suffering

Who’s on First?

by Andy Wood on December 6, 2010

in Following Your Passion, LV Cycle

It’s a famous scene in the movie “City Slickers.”  Curley, the cowboy character played by Jack Palance, says to Billy Midlife-Crisis-Angst Crystal:

“You city folk, you worry about a lot of [stuff]…  You all come up here about the same age, same problems.  Spend about 50 weeks a year getting’ knots in your rope and then you think two weeks up here will untie ‘em for ya’.  And none of you get it.  Do you know what the secret of life is?”

“No, what?” says Crystal.

“This,” Curley says, holding up one finger.

“Your finger?”

“One thing.  Just one thing.  You stick to that and everything else don’t mean [nothing].”

“That’s great, but… what’s the one thing?”

“That’s what you gotta figure out.”

Tough times have a way of bringing out complicated questions.  Ever since Cain killed Abel, or Job’s friends made a “sympathy” visit, people have responded to adversity by haggling and hand-wringing over the deep, often-unanswerable questions in life.  Questions like, “Why is this happening to me?” or “Who’s responsible for that?”

During times like that, we all need somebody who can again bring us back to consciousness. [click to continue…]

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Ever have this happen in school?  You study most of the night for your 8:00 history class.  You’re ready with the names, dates, big themes and theories.  You show up loaded for historic bear… only to discover your history exam isn’t until next week.

Meanwhile, in your 9:00 chemistry class…

Oh…  crap…  Tell me I didn’t just study for the wrong test.

I did.  And maybe you have, too.

You see, for years I’ve been studying for the Midterm Patience Exam.  It’s become something of a byword in Christian circles, if not a bad joke: [click to continue…]

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drowningYears ago I led a high-school junior to Christ with the promise that He would make her life easier and her circumstances better.

He didn’t.

A few months later she wrote something to this effect in a letter to me:  “Why is it that all this trouble started after I became a Christian?  Before I was saved, I never had this kind of trouble.”  How would you respond?

Following the tragic and untimely death of his son, a grieving father looked directly at me and said, “God is punishing me for not taking my boy to church.”  What would you tell him?

Ever since Cain killed Abel, and Job lost nearly everything dear to him, the universal question of the race has been, “Why?”  [click to continue…]

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(Note:  I make no claims to be a prophet, so I write this with a bit of fear and trembling.  But I believe a day of restoration and change is coming to a significant number people worldwide.  Pardon the timing, but it has little-to-nothing to do with the upcoming elections.  I haven’t had a stirring in my spirit on this level in more than 10 years.  For reasons I’ll explain next week, all I know to call it is the day of the Second House.  Make no mistake about it – these are heady, often stressful times.  Things that can be shaken will be, so that the things that can’t be shaken will remain.  But those who hear God’s call, trust God’s heart, and courageously obey God’s direction will enter into a season, like Israel, when their latter glory will be greater than the former.  This post and the next one will serve as an introduction to that.)

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It was January 3, 1993 – more than 15 years ago – and it remains the greatest comeback in NFL history.  At halftime the Buffalo Bills, their starting quarterback injured, trailed the Houston Oilers with mighty quarterback Warren Moon by a score of 35-3 in an American Conference playoff game.  Backup Frank Reich led the team to a stunning upset.  The score:  41-38.

Most of us aren’t football players, professional or otherwise.  But we all experience adversity when, like the Bills, our backs are pressed against the wall.  Sometimes we’re beyond distress; we’re beaten.  These times of adversity almost always involve losses of some kind:

  • money (how ‘bout them markets?)
  • friendships
  • joy
  • health
  • dreams
  • family

LifeVesting?  Designing your future?  Ha!  To quote the pained psalmist in slavery, “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” (Psalm 137:4). [click to continue…]

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Passion FirePassion is in.  I was reminded of that today as I finished the latest chapter of the book that Kaye, my sister-in-law, and I are working on together.

Passion is a cool word, and you’re cool if you use it in a sentence.  Extra points if your face is filled with passion when you use “passion” in the aforesaid sentence.

Tony Robbins ends all the sessions in his famous audio series with it.  “Live with passion!” he says.  Sure beats the alternative.  (Die with boredom?)  Anyway…

There’s a huge college and young adult ministry called Passion that has been a driving force for worship influences, discipleship and evangelism for more than a decade now.  Even the name connects with something that people sense a yearning for.

“Passions” is the name of a daytime drama, and passion.com is a sex-based dating service.  Same word; different meaning entirely.

Sports fans talk about a passion for the game, or a passion for winning.  Talk to a Cardinals, Red Sox, or Yankees fan on opening day.  Hang out in a barbecue or beer joint in Birmingham around Thanksgiving weekend.  Or watch Dale Jr. do – well, just about anything – and you’ll see passion.

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