Jillian is a successful realtor with a proven track record and dozens of happy clients. She has been with the same national franchise for seven years, but lately is rethinking that relationship. She has received an offer from a competitor and, at the same time, has endured some unwelcome changes in her firm.  Is it time for Jillian to jump ship?

Billy is a young pastor. A firebrand communicator who has led his first church to significant growth in the 18 months he’s been there. But he’s beginning to encounter some resistance there. And at the same time other larger churches are bombarding him for his resume. Is it time for Billy to bail?

Steven works for the local chapter of a national non-profit who boldly advertises the degree to which they care for suffering humanity. But Steven sees a different side – one driven by ruthless management, questionable financial decisions, and huge employee turnover. At what point does he decide there must be a better way to change the world? And how does he know that the next organization won’t just be more of the same? [click to continue…]

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(And You Can and Should, Too)

Travel with me to an ancient version of Death Row. A lonely old man sits in isolation – a rare occurrence for a life so well-traveled and surrounded with people. And he awaits his fate.

He’s a dead man walking.

Yet even though his body is scarred and his bones crooked from a hardened life, he doesn’t have the same despair or desperation that’s typical of someone living under a death sentence. In fact, he has – dare I say it? – a sense of satisfaction. Fulfillment. Maybe even a touch of pride.

How do I know? His own words.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Those words from Paul have carried a new fascination for me recently.  Here was a man who know what his life was about, and lived it. He followed the course laid out for him, and he finished it.

Put in other language, Paul had a vision, and throughout his life he stubbornly, doggedly, faithfully pursued that vision.  Doing so was costly in the short run. He was routinely run out of town, beaten to a pulp, deserted by his friends, and bedeviled by danger. But to him it was a price worth paying, to get to the end of his life with two things: [click to continue…]

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…for we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

You and I are flex-fueled vehicles.

We are equipped to move forward,

powered either by confidence in the living God

or by what makes sense to us logically, emotionally, or sensually at the time.

There is a difference…  A massive difference.

What’s in your tank?

Here’s how you can know… [click to continue…]

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Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

Because of the resurrection power of Jesus Christ,

Through the glory of the God the Father,

I have been raised from the dead.

Today the trajectory of my life is full of anticipation, discovery, awakening and opportunity.  [click to continue…]

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Behold a sower went forth again to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the well-worn path. Knowing the vulnerability of the seed to the birds, the sower broke the hardened ground to enable the seed to grow.  The birds came to search for food and found nothing there.

Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil. Knowing the vulnerability of the plant to the scorching sun, the sower dug out the rocks to deepen the roots.  The seeds sprang up, but only when the roots went down. And when the sun had risen, the deep roots nourished the plant with life and strength.

Others fell among the thorns. Knowing the vulnerability of the plant to be choked and fruitless because of the thorns, the sower diligently weeded the field.

And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. Knowing the potential of the seed to multiply, the sower ruthlessly pruned the plant to make it even more fruitful.

He who has ears, let him hear. [click to continue…]

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Interesting question came across my radar last week. Ashton was in a room full of worship leaders for a nationwide series of summer camps. For 8 weeks they will be leading the same songs, doing the same things, week after week. Her question:

What advice would you give to us on how to remain renewed and refreshed every week? How do we not get into a cycle? Even when it is week 4 for us and we have sung the same songs every week… how do we fight that?

It’s a valid question, and the Fuge worship leaders aren’t the only ones who face it. The truth is, everybody in spiritual leadership has the task of “handling the holy things” week in and week out. Ashton’s “holy things” may be music and microphones. Yours may be a Bible or a lesson plan. Someone else’s may be the routine schedule of meetings you attend or lead. Regardless, Christians gathered in the name of Christ for any reason have an occasion to invite and expect His presence.

Until we don’t.

Until we drift into a routine or rut – what Ashton calls a “cycle.”

Now it’s time for this. Next – that. Then back to this. Then the other.  Before long, not only can we get bored with the whole thing, we telegraph that boredom to the very people we’re supposed to be leading.  As a result, the “gospel” no longer feels like “good news” and we lose our sense of wonder and gratitude.

(If that sound a lot like your Sunday morning experience, I’m sorry. But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to remain that way.)

My response to Ashton was one of those things that startled me with how fast it came. (That’s usually a sign that I didn’t originate the answer.)  The key to avoiding the rut:  Play, Stay, Away, and Pray. [click to continue…]

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Archer Aiming

In the world of archery, comfortable bows never launch arrows.

Until the bow is stretched to near-breaking, the arrow never fulfills its purpose or reaches its target.

I fear that our craving for comfort may be slowly killing us all because we’ve redefined the term. [click to continue…]

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Opportunity Clarity Action

So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes (John 12:35).

There is clarity (Light).

There is opportunity (a limited time).

There is action (walk).

Clarity without opportunity calls for waiting, not walking.

Opportunity without clarity calls for caution and connection.

When clarity and opportunity converge, this calls for action. [click to continue…]

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Highway

Imagine your life as various points on the highway.  Fast Lane, Slow Lane, Shoulder, Ditch.

And at any given time, in any given area, you can be in one of those four.

Living in the Fast Lane means you’re getting where you’re going. You’re fulfilling your purpose.

In the Slow Lane you have a lot of movement, but you never quite seem to get there, wherever “there” is.

On the Shoulder, your “engine” is running, but you’re not moving ahead at all.

In the Ditch means you’ve crashed or are stuck, and without help you aren’t going anywhere.

Having punched my card in all four locations, I can tell you we’re all a mixed bag. You can be idling on the shoulder in one area, cruising in another, and crashed out in a third. So let’s break it down a little more. [click to continue…]

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The Parable of the Highway Director

by Andy Wood on May 15, 2017

in LV Cycle, LV Stories

A Reverent Retelling of a Familiar Story

Snowstorm Traffic

A Colorado highway director went out to see firsthand the aftermath of a sudden blizzard that struck just at the start of a holiday weekend.

Some vehicles had slid off the road into a ditch or snow bank. Without help they were powerless to move.

Other cars were on the shoulder. Their engines were still running for the time being, but they were not moving forward at all.

Some cars were in the slow lane, cautiously moving forward, but at a pace that made timely arrival at their destination virtually impossible.

Still other vehicles were equipped to drive in the fast lane – some going steadily, some quickly, some dangerously fast, but all headed for their destination.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

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Hear now the parable of the Highway Director. [click to continue…]

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