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Brokenness

Anxiety2

Found myself making a list the other day.  It was really helpful, and I suggest you do the same.  It’ll be good, clean fun. So grab that pen or loosen up those fingers and let’s brainstorm.

Ready?

Make a list of all the things you still don’t know.

Okay, from the sound of those crickets, I’m assuming that may be a bit too broad.  So hone in on one specific area.

The economy? That’s a good one.

Your kids of family?  Excellent.

Your work situation?  Awesome.

Regardless of the venue, when you allow your mind to focus on what you still don’t know because the future is uncertain, you’re giving yourself a heart-engraved invitation to be anxious in the purest sense of the word.  We experience anxiety whenever we are pulled in different directions.  That’s literally what the word means.  Anxiety certainly includes worry, but it isn’t limited to that.  Any emotional impasse can be classified as anxiety.

Recently I was reading the prayer of a really anxious man, and got a whole new perspective on what to do when I’m feeling anxious. [click to continue…]

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Broken RoadThis is a story about a father and son.

About a pathway to prosperity and strength.

About how that pathway separated them, then brought them back together again.

It’s a story of shattered dreams, unspeakable grief, profound loneliness, and the ultimate family reunion.

This is the story of the Broken Road, and how God used it in two people’s lives to rewrite history – theirs, and yours.

Psalm 105 contains an interesting description of the father, Jacob:

Israel also came into Egypt;
Thus Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
And [God] caused His people to be very fruitful,
And made them stronger than their adversaries.

Sounds simple enough.  But let me ask you a question. If you were going to write a plan to get somebody to a place of fruitfulness and strength, how would you script it?

Start with a dream, maybe?

Then a few targeted objectives?

Maybe a good strategic plan, with a collaborative partnership or two?

Throw in some hefty funding, maybe some high-dollar training, and a few little victories to establish momentum, and you’re on your way, right?

That’s not exactly how this story went down.  [click to continue…]

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A cathedral in Europe was famous for the large, magnificent, stained‑glass window that was located behind the altar and high above the sanctuary.  One day a violent windstorm shattered that beautiful window into a thousand pieces.  The church custodian was hesitant to discard the fragments, so he put them in a box and stored them in the basement of the cathedral.

Shortly after the storm, a man who had heard about the damage asked for and received the broken pieces of glass.  About 2 years later, he invited the caretaker to visit him in a nearby village.  When the custodian arrived, the man explained that he was an artisan and that he had something to show him.  When the craftsman unveiled his work, the visitor was astonished to see a lovely window fashioned from the broken fragments.  It was even more beautiful than the original.

You can be, too.

Like the shattered window, sometimes we live in the wake of a painful experience that threatens to leave us broken and scarred – an unrecognizable leftover of what we once imagined ourselves to be.

Abundance?  Hardly.

Joyful?  Are you kidding?

I heard a beautiful reflection on that a couple of years ago from a TV show, of all things: [click to continue…]

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Mosaic

by Andy Wood on June 13, 2010

in 100 Words

We live in a broken world, but we don’t have to accept brokenness as the final answer. 

We are broken people, but our lives don’t have to be defined by the irreparable messes we’ve made or the grave wounds we carry.

In the hands of a Healer,

And the heart of an Artist,

We are more than a pile of useless pieces.

We are His work of art.

And in a stunning act of clarity and focus,

He chose…

Only…

To work…

With broken pieces.

But He insists that you entrust all the broken pieces of your life to Him.

(This beautiful glass mosaic is the art of Kelly Aloha, of Caloma, California.
Visit her studio on the river the next time you visit the Caloma Valley.)

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Our granddaughter, Laura Kate, with Elmo’s help, is learning about holes.  The square hole, the round hole.  The star-shaped hole, the rectangle hole.  She’s learning to put the square piece in the square hole, and Elmo tells her how awesome she is. 

At 20 months, that’s pretty good.  Before long, she will graduate from Elmo and his octogons  and stars.  And she will discover new holes to fill.  Deeper holes.  One downright abyss.  And many more complex shapes.

Who Said That?

There’s this quote that’s been ascribed to all kinds of people over the years.  I’ve heard that Billy Graham said it.  Then Augustine.  Or maybe C. S. Lewis.  But most popularly, Blaise Pascal.  The quote reads, [click to continue…]

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PisaThe people in Pisa needed professional help.  Seems their most famous landmark was, well, leaning.

Well, duh!

Actually, a few years ago someone discovered that the Tower was very slowly beginning to lean too much.  So the city fathers had an emergency meeting and decided there was only one thing to do.  They would bring in architects and professional builders who would make sure the tower didn’t topple over.  One mandate, however:  keep the tower from falling over, but don’t correct the tilt!  In other words, make sure it stays like it is.  After all, who would travel to see the standing Tower of Pisa?

It’s amazing the time and effort – sometimes even large amounts of money – we will invest in order to remain the same.  And that in a world where the constant is change.

If you’re reading this, regardless of who you are, change is the one thing that is required of you, as well.  It’s the one thing you and I have in common.  It’s also the one thing we have a tendency to resist.  Leo Tolstoy once said, “Everyone wants to change humanity, but no one wants to change himself.”

Jesus once told a story about a farmer, some seed, and four types of ground.  The seed, He said was the “word of the Kingdom.”  Only one kind of ground (a type of heart) received the seed to the degree that it made lasting change.  Something would have to change about the ground to experience the maximum effect (change) of the seed.

There are four types of life change, based on the Parable of the Sower.  You are somewhere on this list right now:

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Because He is Risen

by Andy Wood on March 19, 2008

in Five LV Laws,Principle of Eternity

He puts smiles on the faces of little boys.
He sprinkles sweetness on little girls.
He gives dignity to solemn vows, and sacredness to relationships.
He brings purpose and satisfaction to the striving and seeking of your life.
And it is this life of Jesus that brings healing and peace into the broken life.
I live – I live – because He is risen.

Those words, from a musical titled “Living Witnesses,” profoundly impacted my life more than 30 years ago. So much so that we had them printed on the cover of our wedding brochure in 1983. And on this week in which all over the world we pay attention to the fact that Jesus lives, I find myself thinking of them again. Read them again, slowly. Deeply.

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