From the category archives:

Esteem

Violin 2Hey.  Come on in.  Shut the door behind you.

Ha!  No, you aren’t in trouble.  I just wanted to show you something important, without a lot of distractions.  You doing OK?

So, just curious… how’s your praise life?

Yeah, that’s probably what I would have said, too.

Yes, actually, that is what I wanted to talk about.

I wanted to share an experience that actually happened several years ago, but it totally changed how I approach my relationship with God – particularly praise and worship.

Well, yeah, praise and worship at church with the music and all that.  But more importantly, praising God in my prayer time.  You know that old hymn that says, “Tune my heart to sing Thy praise?”  Yeah, well, the Lord showed me how to do that, and it was pretty life-changing. [click to continue…]

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Shepherd Birth

O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever (Psalm 131).

Soul-check time:  How “at rest” are you?  The answer to that will make all the difference in your worship, and your work.

This psalm of ascent is the confession of a soul at rest – a “weaned soul.”

The first verse speaks of three things the psalmist has turned away from – a proud heart, haughty eyes, or a mind that tries to figure out the impossible.  The common theme in each – I know my limits.  And I know my place.  I am free of selfish ambition and arrogance toward others.

Are you ready to start your ascent today?  [click to continue…]

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Crowned with Love

by Andy Wood on April 4, 2013

in Esteem,Life Currency,Love

AA006348You were made to wear a crown.  And you were made to give crowns away.  But this is no token symbol or forgotten relic from a bygone era.  It’s a choice you have every day.  Either wear your crown or someone else will.  And choose well who you give your crowns to.

Crowns.  They’re a rare commodity in our culture, unless somebody is playing checkers, crying at the end of the beauty pageant, or eating at Burger King with the kids. Presidents, judges and governors take oaths. Congress takes your money.  Modern Olympians bring home the gold, but nobody gets a head full of garland any more.

That said, we give and receive crowns all the time.  Check out the dictionary for the verb form of “crown” and you’ll find language like:

  • To invest with regal power; enthrone.
  • To confer honor, dignity, or reward upon.
  • To surmount or be the highest part of.
  • To bring to completion or successful conclusion; to consummate.

Have you done any crowning lately?  I daresay you have.  The only question is, who is wearing the crowns you are offering? [click to continue…]

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Jackson and CohenAs you probably could tell from the last post, we got to spend a week with three of our grandsons last week here at our house.  You may or may not know that I also spend 95% of my working time at home.

Do you see a potential conflict there?

The week was predictably (and wonderfully) less-than-productive.

Routinely as I would try to “escape” to the bedroom or office to get some work done, one of them would find me.  The sweetheart crawler, the scary-smart walker, and the funny, nonstop talker.  One wanted me to hold him, one wanted me to see and notice him, and one wanted me to engage in conversation – endless, looped conversation. [click to continue…]

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Winemaker

by Andy Wood on February 8, 2013

in Esteem,Following Your Passion,Life Currency,LV Cycle

Communion


His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5)

A simple statement of faith mixed with obedience at the wedding in Cana:  “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

It’s the “whatever” that gets us in trouble, because we like to have answers and reasons for our doing.

And just like in this story, Jesus isn’t always inclined to provide those.

He told them to fill up the water pots, dip out, and take it to the head waiter.

To their credit, apparently they did all they were told without question.

How about you?

How about today?

Try this on as an affirmation: [click to continue…]

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Tricycle WreckHave you ever felt as though you were good – really good – at something?  I don’t mean false pride or arrogance.  I mean being a person with faith.  Faith in God.  And almost as important, faith in yourself, at least in certain circumstances.

The word for that is confidence, and without it, you’re toast.

Have you ever moved confidently into a situation and blown it?  I’m not talking about giving in to your weaknesses.  I mean digging deep into the well of your greatest talent, knowledge, or skillset and serving up what they call “gopher balls” in baseball.

All of us can shrug off those areas of weakness.  We know we won’t be perfect at everything.  (You do know that, don’t you?)

But it’s hard to know where to go or what to do when we get hammered for what we think we’re good at.

I’ve seen a lot of that lately.  I’ve had a few of those experiences myself, but I’ve also come across a variety of other people who’ve faced the same thing.  Their confidence has been rattled, and they’re not quite sure what to do next. [click to continue…]

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One of oneTurns out there was something almost as satisfying Monday night as watching Eddie Lacy, A. J. McCarron and company put looks of futility and bewilderment on yet another BCS opponent – a game, by the way, I have waited since 1966 to witness.

It was a commercial.  For Dr. Pepper, of all things.  Now as long as I’ve known anything about Dr. Pepper and commercials, they have always had some kind of big song and dance production.  And this commercial was no exception.

What was exceptional was the song in the commercial.  It sort of stopped me in my tracks.  I actually hit rewind to see the thing again.  (If you know anything about me and commercials, you will know this rarely happens.)  If you’d like to see the commercial, it’s already on YouTube, and you can watch it here.

I didn’t run out and buy Dr. Pepper.  But I did hurry to iTunes and found the song.  I just discovered it was released on iTunes on January 7, the day the commercial ran.

The song is by the Nashville group Vinyl Hearts, and it’s called, “I Am.” You can hear it in its entirety by clicking below.  Please, hear the song in its entirety. [click to continue…]

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fireplaceOn this cold December night, when life, relationships and future hope seem more complicated than ever, I pray that that the Father of lights would give you the joy of His presence and the gift of simple happiness throughout the coming year, with the light of every new sunrise.

I pray that he would remind you often of how deeply you are loved, unforgettably engraved in the palm of His hand, steadfastly held by His grace day and night.

I pray that in an age where nothing seems to last, that the One who promised us a home with Him forever  would keep the language and love of forever dancing in your heart and mine as long as you and I have breath. [click to continue…]

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Many years ago the cartoon character Cathy expressed the anxiety many people feel this time of year.  She says to her boss:  “My left brain is making lists of people I haven’t sent cards to yet.  My right brain is at the craft store, thinking up creative gifts I could make before Christmas.  My nerves are at the mall, worrying whether I should have gotten the other necktie for my Dad.  My stomach is still at last night’s party begging for more Christmas cookies.  My heart is stuck in traffic somewhere between my mother’s house, my boyfriend’s house, and the adorable man I saw at the post office.”

Her boss asks, “What is it you want, Cathy?”  Cathy replies:  “May what’s left of me sneak home early and take a nap?”

For many people, Christmas has become something other than a celebration.  It’s more like a mission. The holiday, instead of being a holy-day, has become a holocaust.  The celebration has become a sale, “Silent Night” has become replaced with “Walmart Fight.”

And have you noticed how guilty you always seem to feel at Christmas?

You spent too much money, or didn’t spend enough.

You didn’t get everything your kids asked for, or the present wasn’t the right size.

You didn’t give enough to the church or the Salvation Army.

You “put Christ back into Christmas” and were “too spiritual,” or you had too much Santa Claus and reindeer.

Do you ever wish you could just somehow go back and start over?  Football coaches have a good term for this:  they call it going back to the fundamentals.  Let’s give that a try this year.  Let’s make Christmas a celebration again… 100% guilt-free! Click to see a great idea for connecting with people

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My One More Chance

by Andy Wood on October 29, 2012

in Esteem,Life Currency

The years so many and memories still real
Point to chances and dances with life-setting choices.
And oh, how my heart could believe in illusions
And stubbornly choke on the mirrors and smoke
Of promises from a deceiver,
Whose only aim was to take and shame –
Never to give or forgive
Or redeem or fulfill a single dream
Like those I found in You,
My One More Chance.

What could I offer to You in return
For the touch of Your grace and the things I have learned?
I will offer the first of my heart to the dance
Of worship to You, My One More Chance.

[click to continue…]

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