Temptation

Edge of a Cliff

(Fumes, Form and Fashion, Part 4)

Phillip and Amanda are an item. Second marriage for him, first for her. Two kids together. Christians.  Raising the family. Paying the bills. Doing life.

And they’re both exhausted.  It’s more a case of life doing them.

Phillip, as mentioned here, is nearing 40 and finds himself yearning for a return to more structure and discipline that kept him in shape, both spiritually and physically.

Amanda, as mentioned here finds herself choking emotionally and desperate for some sort of life-energizing change.

They each have a sincere faith in God and are committed to each other.  They each are mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted.

They need to hear the voice of God in a fresh way.

They both, but especially Phillip, need to go back to the basics.

They both, but especially Amanda, need a change in scenery, starting with that internal scenery we call vision.

And they both are on the cusp of something new and exciting.

And unbearably stupid. [click to continue…]

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worship surrender 2Raise your hand if you’ve ever stood in church and sung, “I surrender all.”

Raise your other hand if you were invited to “come to the altar and surrender all to Jesus.”

Both my hands are up. I’m typing with my toes.

Just two problems with that idea.  First, surrender isn’t something you do in church.  Second, surrender isn’t something you do at the end or the close of anything.

A few years ago I learned a new language – the language of surrender and freedom.  Inspired by someone’s idea of absolute commitment to Jesus expressed as, “I don’t have to survive,” I began a mental and spiritual journey of surrender.  What else can I let go of? How else can I be free?  And I began to make the list…

I don’t have to be successful…

I don’t have to get angry…

I don’t have to feel rejected…

I don’t have to be right…

You get the point.

Lately I’ve been revisiting that idea, for an important reason.  [click to continue…]

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I have an urgent news flash for you:  Just because you know something is wrong, that doesn’t mean you’ll avoid it.

Shocking, I know.  And the corollary is also true: Just because you know you’re supposed to do something, that doesn’t mean you’ll do it.

Suppose you could interview Jonah – the Old Testament’s version of Gilligan – and ask him what the most important requirement was for prophets. What do you think he’d say?  My guess is that he would tell you that a prophet’s number one job is to speak what he hears the Lord saying to speak.

Why, then, did Jonah have to travel from the boat to the belly to the burp to the beach before he decided to do what his own standard said to do?

Resurrect a first-century Pharisee and ask him what it took to please God, and you’d probably hear something about keeping the law and prophets, serving God and walking in humility and discipline.

Why, then, did Jesus refer to the scribes and Pharisees as unwilling to lift a finger to meet a need, doing all their deeds to be noticed by men, loving the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and insisting on being called by respectful titles in public?  If serving God faithfully was so important to them, why did the Son of God warn people not to be like them?

Whenever the bad news breaks out about somebody who has shocked us with their oh-no, no-no behavior, we often ask silly questions like, “Well didn’t they know that was wrong?”  Of course they did.  Why, then, would someone violate their own standards of right and wrong?  [click to continue…]

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Pretender

by Andy Wood on April 4, 2012

in Gamblers, Life Currency, Love, LV Alter-egos

One of you will betray Me.

No way.

Yes, way.

Not one of us.

Yes, one of you.

But we heard you teach in the synagogues and on the hillsides.

Yes, and one of you will choose to live otherwise.

But we saw you perform miracles, like feeding the five-thousand!

Yes, and one of you who carried a basket of leftovers will himself be carried away.

But we healed the sick together with Your power!

Yes, one of you, who healed the sick with My power, will betray me.

But we cast out demons in Your name! [click to continue…]

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Think fast!  What’s the difference between a test and a temptation?

Fast answer:  Nothing.

Slower answer:   One comes from the devil and one comes from the Lord.  But did you know that the same Greek word is used for both?  Check out these familiar words: [click to continue…]

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Be a Shepherd, For God’s Sake!

by Andy Wood on January 31, 2011

in Leadership, Life Currency

Never has there been a higher call – or a greater need – for men and women of God with the heart of a Shepherd. 

The Shepherd leads.  He feeds.  He knows the sheep by name, and lays down his life for them.  His leadership arises from a heart that has once and for all died to all else but the lives of the sheep.  He cares for the ninety-nine who cling to the sound of his voice; yet he pursues with reckless abandon the one who, intent on finding his own way, is now lost. 

Be a Shepherd, for God’s sake!  And in so doing, be an overseer.  

Remember, you can never over-see what you aren’t seeing over.  Rise above your own sins, self-interest, and troublesome circumstances – then you will discern what is happening in the lives of other people.  Watch!  Don’t allow yourself to become oblivious to what is happening in their lives.  Remember, you don’t have to take your eyes off the sheep in order to hear from the Chief Shepherd.

Be a Shepherd, for God’s sake!  And in so doing, be a willing leader.  [click to continue…]

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What Would You Do If You Wuz the Devil?

by Andy Wood on August 12, 2010

in Uncategorized

“What would you do if you wuz the devil?” Aunt Ruth asked. 

“I’d retire and sue the movie industry for back pay,” I said.

Aunt Ruth was neither my aunt, nor was she named “Ruth.”  Through a series of circumstances I don’t have space to tell, that’s what I wound up calling her.  Crusty, funny, frank, and yes – godly – Aunt Ruth had eyes that danced long after her feet no longer could.  Today her eyes were dancing.

“I’m serious,” she said.  “What would you do?”

“Oh, the usual, I guess.  Lust, greed, bitterness.  Why are you asking?”  (We’d been talking about how blessed we were as a church, and how excited I was about the future.)

“Come on, boy, he’s got more sense than that!  Too bad you don’t.” [click to continue…]

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It all started with that 55-mph speed limit.   In the mid-1970s, Americans traded in their muscle cars for Toyotas and slowed down.

But a certain segment of the population balked.  These people were paid to transport goods to their destinations in a timely manner, and felt that the new speed limits were doing considerable harm to their livelihood.  So they started working together to cover each other’s back.

This created a fad that spawned a counterculture, complete with its own lingo, music, and personal identities.  Everybody, it seemed, rushed out to get a CB radio.

Once the stuff of rescue workers, hobbyists, and the like, citizens-band radios became standard equipment in many vehicles.  Gone were the official call-letters used by the “legal eagles” who actually paid for a license to use the things (KFN 0508, if you even remotely care what ours was).  Everybody used a “handle.”

A handle was a nickname you gave yourself so that people could “grab hold” of you by saying something along the lines of, “Break, one-nine.  How ‘bout that Blue Goose?  You got your ears on”?  And you, assuming that was your handle, would reply something like, “Ten-four, good buddy.”

No, children, I’m not making this up.

CBs, for the most part, have gone the way of the 55-mph speed limit, though our trucker friends still use them.  But you still have a handle – a unique identity by which you can be “grabbed.”  [click to continue…]

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Prayer – Is it Really That Simple?

by Andy Wood on June 4, 2008

in Tense Truths

PrayerTense Truth:  For every big answered prayer you experience, you can find some trivial something God chose not to say “yes” to.  For every simple request He responds to, you can find some issue of global significance or suffering that He appears oblivious to.  Regardless, the Kingdom of God moves forward on that praying of its people, and when we don’t ask, we don’t receive.

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Did you ever dissect a rose or a tulip or something in biology class?  You know – where you learned about those parts, like the pistil, the anvil, the stirrup, the air ducts, the seaman, and all that stuff?  Did the thought ever occur to you that no matter how interesting the inner understanding may be, what makes the flower beautiful is the whole?

A lot of people approach prayer the same way.  They feel compelled to slice it, dice it, dissect it, analyze it.  They ask “Why?” and “How?” questions a lot.  I’ll confess, those kinds of thoughts rattle around in my head.  My wife, the faith warrior, will talk about some simple thing the Lord wonderfully gave her, like a parking place or a sale at Kirkland’s or a thought to call somebody.  And I’ll be thinking, “Okay, but really…”  Or I’ll go off on a riff like I did last week about praying for the economy or gas prices (are they really slipping?) or the environment, and the whole time I’m opining, I’m thinking, “People are going to think I’m nuts.”

[click to continue…]

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