Sadness and happiness

Hop on the Hypothetical Bus with me for just a minute.  Let’s take a ride.

Let’s assume that as far as you know you’ve been doing everything you know to do correctly.

  • You brush and floss 2-3 times a day.
  • You have your daily devotions.
  • You exercise devotedly.
  • You give your money regularly to your church and other places.
  • You do a really good job at whatever you call work.
  • You only eat organic Cheetos.
  • You get your milk from a Christian cow.

Yet despite all the good things you’re doing and the faith and expectations you’ve been exercising, you just checked the scoreboard and,

Uh oh…

Your life is something like that mean football cheer:

Watermelon, watermelon, watermelon rind!
Look at the scoreboard and see who’s behind…

What do you do when the news should be good, but it’s discouraging instead? [click to continue…]

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Sad little girl sitting on grass

In an old strip from “Bloom County” back in the early 80s,  Opus, the beloved big-nosed penguin, is sitting at a bus stop with a Polish guy, a black guy, a white guy, an old lady and a midget (um, vertically challenged person)…

Black Guy (to Opus): Ya know… you penguin types offend me.
White Guy: Hey… I’ll tell ya what offends me… dirty words, that’s what!
Polish Guy: Polish jokes offend me.
Black Guy: Stereotypes offend ME.
Old Lady: TV sex offends me!
White Guy: LOOK! That sign is offensive!!
Midget: I made that sign and I’m offended!
Polish Guy (to Black Guy): Frankly sir, you offend me.
Black Guy: Well! I’m offended at your offense.
Old Lady: Those nudes offend my womanhood!
White Guy: Those gays offend my manhood!
Midget: This comic offends my offensiveness!

All: MY GOSH… LIFE IS OFFENSIVE!! AAAAAIGH! (they all run away, leaving Opus sitting at the bus stop)

Opus: Offensensitivity.

Have you checked your offensensitivity levels lately?  Some days it just seems that all of life is offensive.  And other days, well, maybe we have enough grace to let a few people be completely wrong.  This just in from Serenah:

I have just read your put your stingers up piece and it was helpful. But how do you put your stingers up permanently when you are in a situation you can’t remove yourself from? I know God is trying to teach me to let go of defensiveness but I don’t know how?

Fair question.  How do you drop your guard when every day feels like a march into the enemy’s camp?  Here are a couple of thoughts on the fly, but thoughts worth taking a look at.  Offensensitivity is the result of three overlapping things:  Fear, Framing, and False Beliefs. [click to continue…]

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Old compass on the beach with sand and sea

President Woodrow Wilson once said, “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forgot the errand.”

Have you forgotten the errand lately?  Maybe it’s time for a look under the hood.

At least it is for me.  And maybe for you, too.

I’m involved in some pretty big initiatives lately (you’ll be seeing more of that soon).  And those initiatives are added to an already-very-busy life. Never a day goes by when I don’t lay my head on the pillow with plenty more to do tomorrow that I left undone today.  Most days I’m fine with that.  But lately in the middle of all the time and resource challenges I’ve found myself frustrated, more tired than I should be, and actually feeling anxious about some things that should have me feeling excited and hopeful.  And in the middle it all is this nagging question:

Is this really what I’m about?

That brings me back to something I’ve been pretty passionate about for a long time – a clearly-defined sense of personal mission or purpose. [click to continue…]

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Vacant Room

There’s a house in my neighborhood.  Beautiful place.  Well built and spacious.  And for the last two years, completely empty.

Not for sale.  We have some of those, too, complete with yard signs and open houses.

Not in foreclosure.  None of those stickers on the window with the bold letters NOTICE at the top.

No, this home – this beautiful home – is paid for (or being paid for).  Ready for move-in.  But for reasons I do not know, it sits completely empty.

I’ve been thinking about that house lately.  I’m sure the owner has his reasons.  But it sure seems sad that something built to provide a lot of comfort and satisfaction fails to fulfill its purpose as it sits, unoccupied.  Hey, even the mail addressed to “current occupant” has nowhere to go. [click to continue…]

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How many times have you said it?  Or heard somebody else mouth something like this…?

I just want to do God’s will.

I wish I knew what God wanted me to do.

How can I find the will of God for my life?

Tell me how this is supposed to fit into a grand plan!

I want to do God’s will, but I’m wired to lead.  Is that wrong?

I know God has a plan in all this, but for the life of me I can’t see it.

I’m willing to follow Jesus, but how can I know how it all will turn out?

I did what I thought was God’s will and instead of feeling joyful it felt terrible… instead of everything working out, it all looked like a failure.

How do I know that if I surrender my life to God’s will He won’t make me be a missionary somewhere in a place with lots of mosquitos or cannibals or something?

Ever since Jesus Christ burst onto the scene and called those fishermen to follow Him, those who have chosen to say yes have discovered the mystery and marvel of finding and fulfilling the will of the God of the Universe.  And make no mistake about it… God wants you to know His will.  But He also wants you to develop the spiritual muscles necessary to discern it.  Check this out: [click to continue…]

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Start your engines

It’s hard for Alex to force himself to go to work these days. The honeymoon there is way past over, and the only reason he shows up now is a paycheck.  He compares himself to others who have gone way too long without any job, and feels guilty for complaining.  But this work situation is starting to affect his health, his relationships, and his confidence.  He’s been looking, but no other possibilities have presented themselves.

What does Alex do? Does he endure or does he walk away?  Does he press on, or does he “step out in faith” in search of new opportunities?

Tyler and Jennifer have reached a similar decision, not about work, but about the church they attend.  The congregation has been hit hard with splits, neighborhood transition, and pastoral changes.  They have been a part of this fellowship since they married, and have faithfully served.  But they have moved to another neighborhood themselves, and it feels harder and harder to go back to what feels like a sinking ship.

What do they do? Is this a time to be “steadfast, immovable,” and all that? Or is it a time to “mount up with wings as eagles” and fly away?

(Yeah, you can make the Bible say just about anything you want it to in cases like this.)

These kinds of questions are common for any believer… [click to continue…]


Rope Stretched

One day you’re going to use the same technique for praying that you have seen God respond to time and time again.  But your prayer won’t get what you consider a positive response.

One day you’re going to claim that healing, rebuke that sickness, or do whatever you’ve done repeatedly to see the Lord respond in situations like that. But he healing won’t be coming.  At least not the way you believed it would come.

One day you’re going to repeat the same steps or process you have used dozens of times before and seen genuine fruit or progress in your personal life or ministry. But this time it’s going to come up a bust.

One day you’re going to turn to your pet theology (excuse me… I mean your belief system), where things have made sense and given you wisdom, insight, and clarity for years.  But this time your pet theology will have no answers.

And let me go ahead and cut to the chase – all of this is deliberate, and it’s God’s idea. [click to continue…]


Until Lambs Become Lions

by Andy Wood on August 12, 2014

in Conversations, Insight, Life Currency

Lion Lamb

(A Conversation)

I watched the Robin Hood movie again last night.

Kevin Costner?

No, seriously?  Russell Crowe.


I love the quote from there…

About rising and rising again?

Yeah… “Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions.”  That really resonates with me.

I can see why.  So are you rising and rising again?

Hardly.  More like “fall and fall again.”

Why is that? [click to continue…]



Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces.” -Matthew Henry

You’re thinking you must have done something terrible.  Or maybe that God’s been playing favorites, and you’re not one of them.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re going through adversity, you seem to be surrounded by people whose lives seem so easy?  So effortless?

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to feel offended – actually offended – when you’re plowing through the tough stuff?  As if God or life or the world owed you something and hasn’t paid up?

Let’s face it – nobody gets up in the morning yearning for a hard day.  Nobody prays for more pain.  And yet go to any source of earthly or heavenly wisdom, and you’ll see somebody talking about the pure value of adversity.  Let’s just start at the top:

It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes (Psalm 119:71).

Speak for yourself, holy man!  This is twenty-first century America, where God owes us an easy life.  We’re on his winning team and all that.


Think again.

Some of the most profound wisdom you can ever attain will come at the other end of affliction, which is a general word for whatever crap you’re going through.  If it hurts, it’s affliction.  I know, yours is unique and your situation is different.  I know – believe me, I know – that your pain is real and you’d do just about anything for some relief.

I also know that if you’re right in the middle of the affliction right now, you may probably want to save this for future reference.  Sometimes it’s hard to see the abundant treasure when all you can do is feel the fire of the furnace.  But I want to tell you that there truly is beauty, even in your moments of deep pain.  Learning from the experience of the psalmist, you can find ways that what looks bad today can lead to extraordinary goodness tomorrow.

What’s so good about affliction? [click to continue…]


Mama and the Twins

Today my mother would have turned 76 years old.  She passed away suddenly four years ago – a reminder to anybody who’s paying attention that there are no guarantees in this life.

Like anybody whose life has touched another for that long, I have lived long enough myself to see Mama’s mental, emotional, and moral DNA flowing throughout my own and my sister’s life, as well as through the lives of her grandchildren and now seven (soon to be 9) great-grandchildren.

We had our points of disagreement, some of them quite loud.  We also had hours of conversation – some of them way past bedtime.  And like Abel in the Bible, I love the fact that long after her life here was over, she still speaks to me today.

Give her a chance, she’ll speak to you, too.  Here, in no certain order, are the life lessons I learned from her. [click to continue…]

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