From the category archives:

Esteem

Celebration Worship

Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable (Psalm 145:3).

Lots of comfortable, well-worn words here.  Sometimes familiarity can hide the truest meaning of the language.

For example, God is “great.”

(God is good, let us thank Him for our…)

Hang on a minute. [click to continue…]

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bettyCrockerOkay, time for a little famous brands trivia.

Without Googling for answers, see if you can guess how many of the following brand names were/are actual people:

Aunt Jemima

Ben and Jerry

Betty Crocker

Chef Boy-Ar-Dee

Duncan Hines

Marie Callender

Martha White

Orville Redenbacher

Sister Shubert

Uncle Ben

Answers are below: [click to continue…]

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Uninhibited

I will give You thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to You before the gods (Psalm 138:1)

Gratitude is not for the half-hearted.

It’s all-in…mind, will, and emotions.

And it’s a choice, regardless of our current state. [click to continue…]

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Speechless LoveThere are over 3,000 words in the English language to describe some kind of feeling.  According to design student Pei-Ying Lin that’s about 21 words short. Lin, in working with colleagues from London’s Royal College of Art, identified 21 words from other languages for which there is no English word.  Example: The Russian word, Tocka, which means “Great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause…ache of soul, a longing with nothing to long for.”

You can find out more, and see Lin’s infographic, by clicking here.

Of course, what Lin has accomplished, while significant, is no real surprise – especially for anybody who’s ever found themselves not knowing how to express exactly how they felt.

Sometimes the gratitude is too great. [click to continue…]

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joylessThis morning I have the privilege of preaching at Shadow Hills Baptist Church here in Lubbock.  After dreaming about hearing John Piper preaching in my head all night long that “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him” (and I’ve never actually listened all the way through to one of his messages), I believe the Lord was “instructing me in the night watches” (Psalm 16:7) to preach on joy, and specifically how we can lose it.  Here’s a quick summary of what I’m sharing there…

The most joyful people on the planet are believers in Jesus Christ.

The most joyless, miserable people on the planet are Christians, too.

Those who don’t have a relationship with Christ don’t know any better, and as they say, “Ignorance is bliss.”  But those of us who have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, then somehow lost that sense of His presence, know there is something missing.

I’d like to show you how that’s possible.  How can someone who has experienced this amazing joy suddenly find themselves without it? [click to continue…]

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American 1Of all the nations who have drawn some borders and set up shop, perhaps none has a shorter and more mixed (some would say mixed up) pedigree than the United States.  If the planet was populated by nothing but dogs, we’d be the mixed breeds – the hardy, loveable mutts who may not be able to point to a long pedigree, but will probably live the longest, love the hardest, and fight the fiercest of anybody in the pound.

To be an American is to be a delightful, maddening mix of contributions and contradictions, possibilities and problems.  We’re a living demonstration of what can happen when you let “the help” run the kingdom.

To be an American is to believe in the power of the people.  Your people, that is.  It is to believe that authority resides in the will of the majority, even though at any given time the Commander-in-Chief was elected by less than 21% of the population. Or if that doesn’t work, maybe power can reside in the rulings of some Federal judge who can see things your way until the majority gets with the program. [click to continue…]

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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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