From the category archives:

Esteem

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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When I was studying for my doctorate, I was required in one class to write a literature review.  I had never done that before, but we had a guidebook for writing lit reviews as one of our textbooks for this particular course.

I’m not sure what inspired me, or even where I got the idea.  It was a bit outside my standard operating procedure.  But I did it anyway:  I opened the book and followed the instructions.

Step by-step.

No creative re-engineering.

No rethinking, reinventing, or re-anything.

My professor, who was Regent’s answer to Simon Cowell, raved.  Talked about how refreshing it was to read my review after enduring a string of mediocre-to-bad papers.

While his feedback was amazing, what was more amazing was that all I had done was follow the instructions. [click to continue…]

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Something changed that night.  And you are the beneficiary.  But so many things changed in and around that night that this sometimes gets lost in the shuffle and scuffle.

For three-plus years, Jesus-the-Master had been leading a band of twelve full-time followers.  “Disciples,” He called them.  And they did what disciples do.  Listen.  Learn.  Serve.  Make mistakes.  Listen.  Lean some more.  Serve some more.  There were teachable moments and forgettable moments.  Fighting times and healing times.

But just before His death, Jesus was giving these loyal men (Judas had already left) a final round of teaching.  One guy calls this, “Jesus’ Cram for the Final Exam.”  I love it.

Tucked in between these massive concepts about vines and branches and the coming Holy Spirit, Jesus rewrote the contract between Him and those who follow.  Read this carefully: [click to continue…]

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Having a dreary day?  Blues gotcha’ by the, um, big toe?  This’ll cheer you up… just read Ecclesiastes.

“Meaningless, meaningless!” says the Teacher.  “Everything is meaningless!”

Actually, it may not help your mood very much, except to remind you that it could be worse.  (If that doesn’t work, try the book of Job.  I hear it’s a big hit at parties.)

Anyway, Ecclesiastes, which means “the Preacher” was either written by King Solomon or by someone else to represent him.  It essentially describes the reflections of a man who got everything in life that someone would want to have.

He had wisdom.

He had no shortage of money.

He had any pleasure his wandering heart would ever wish for.

He had the praise and adoration of people.

The one thing he didn’t seem to find in all of that was any meaning to it all.  At the end of the day, he concludes, rich and poor, righteous and unrighteous, wise men and fools all wind up dead.  And all the things you spend so much energy working on are passed on to people who didn’t work for them.

“What a waste,” he moans.  “Vanity!”

There are some more hopeful things sprinkled throughout the book, such as remembering your Creator in the days of your youth, fearing God and keeping His commandments, and God making all things beautiful in His time.

But the main theme throughout the book is that while we live in a broken, freaked out world, the places we naturally resort to in order to make our lives easier or better, or the things we spend our lifetimes laboring for, are in the end a complete waste.

“I’ve had it all,” he says.  “And it didn’t do what it promised to do.”

We’ve learned better, right?

Oh well.  Poor Sol.  Maybe if we had a thousand wives and concubines to please, a nation to run (which means taxes to collect), and bills to pay on that scale, maybe we’d be moaning, too.  But we’re New Testament believers, right? [click to continue…]

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