A Hurt and An Altar

by Andy Wood on April 30, 2010

in Tense Truths

Yesterday I was talking to an old friend on the phone, and heard myself say something before I realized what I was saying.  (Does that ever happen to you, or am I just weird?) 

Before I tell you what I said, I guess I need to fill in some white space first.

A few days ago I had an experience that left me disappointed and hurt.  The details aren’t important; what is important is what happened in my heart as a result of it.  I will tell you that it was a church wound (one of the most difficult of all), and that I had similar initial feelings to other kinds of pain in my life.  I wanted to go into a cave and hide.  I was fearful of being hurt again.  I wanted to be angry and pout.

But almost immediately, I noticed another kind of result in my spirit.  I was sobered.  Humbled.  Unusually aware of the holiness, wisdom, and love of God.  Emotionally and mentally aware that God is no man, that I can fool, manipulate, or even impress Him.  Even more aware that neither I nor any man can despise the profound work of grace He has made in my life.

And regardless of how any of us behave, He still owns His church.  I can sit on my high horse or hide in my cave all I want, but at the end of the day, He is still God, and still expects me to reflect His character and power.  And He will even use busybodies, gossips, accusers and politickers in Church World to make His case.


I don’t know that I have ever been in a painful situation in which I was more aware of the awareness of God.  And if I may say so, even in the pain, I felt safe and loved.

Here is what I said to my friend, after I filled in some details:  [click to continue…]


Riley and Rusty and a Closed Door

It all started a few weeks ago when I noticed something about Gracie, my dog wannabe.  As the house queen in her own eyes, Gracie likes to keep her options open.  In other words, she can’t stand closed doors.  Any closed door.  It’s not so much that she wants or needs what’s on the other side.  She just likes having options.

And so do I.

I love opportunities and the capacity to dream.  And get frustrated when a door closes in my face, or somewhere else.

All that led to a half-baked observation a couple of weeks ago:  “Even my dog hates closed doors.”

And that led to a well-thought-out meditation from my sister Debbie Hughes about dogs, doors, and why and how we (people, that is) experience them.

So if you’ve had your share of frustrations or disappointments, keep reading… this is from her, for you: [click to continue…]

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The Scenic Route

by Andy Wood on January 30, 2010

in Following Your Passion, LV Cycle, Tense Truths, Waiting

A rewrite of an old (and probably true, since I heard a preacher tell it) story… 

What do you do when you know God’s call on your life is vocational evangelism, and your wife dies, leaving you with two sons, ages 8 and 10?  Will Martin decided to seek out a way jto be both Dad and faithful evangelist.  He rearranged his schedule to make sure he was never gone more than four days at a time, and made arrangements for a highly-trusted caretaker.  And he made himself a promise:  whenever he’d been away overnight, he would always bring his sons a special gift.

Then came the day that Will was wheels-up on the plane and it dawned on him:  he’d forgotten to pick up something for his boys.  So Will conceived a plan.

The boys were so ready to see their dad, and so excited to get inside his suitcase.

“Don’t even bother, guys,” Dad said.  “There’s nothing in there.  This one’s special.  [click to continue…]


So Send I WHO?

by Andy Wood on November 18, 2009

in Executing Your Plan, LV Cycle, Tense Truths

map and time

(Tense Truth:  The perfect truth of the gospel was placed into the hands of a group of people whose lives were a complete mess.  Jesus knew this, but commissioned them anyway.)

Picture the scene in that upper room on the day of the Resurrection.  Rumors and testimonies are flying!  A strange mixture of fear, joy, and disbelief.  Suddenly, according to John’s account, the Lord Jesus appears and says, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent me, so I’m sending you” (John 20:21). 

Hello and head out!  Victory and a vision.  A Conqueror with a commission.  And now these disciples would duplicate on earth what was first transacted in heaven.  “The Father sent me.  In the same way, I am sending you.” 

But wait a minute.  Before we glory in our visions of Pentecost, it would do us good to remember who it was the Lord was talking to.  So send I . . . WHO?  [click to continue…]


StrikeoutVision hurts. 

Don’t believe me?  Try dreaming about something that is exciting and important to you, only to be disappointed.  But the alternative to vision isn’t much better.  Instead of dreaming, you could play it safe.  Be complacent.  Wish for nothing and hit it every time.

Doesn’t sound like much of a choice, does it?  Heartache or boredom.  Tightrope with no net or treadmill with no hope.  How do you make peace with your dreams?  How do you keep from hating the whole process?  How can you avoid “optiphobia” – the fear of vision?

Start with a little perspective.  [click to continue…]


DreamsIt’s time to dream again. 

And in doing so, I will not content myself with yesterday’s progress.
I have seen my share of victories; I’ve won some battles, and maybe even a war or two. 
But there are new victories to be won, and yesterday’s dreams will never achieve them.
When my greatest challenges are boredom and fatigue, I will rest in the womb of a new vision, and call forth even greater measures of faith and courage.

It’s time to dream again. 

And in doing so, I will see beyond the road blocks and crashes. [click to continue…]


trust-2It’s the ultimate test, and I’ve blown it.  Often.  Thank God He’s let me live to go one more round or two, maybe to get it right next time.

In a world awash with the expectation of push-button success and results, what do you do when you’ve done everything you know to do, and you still haven’t seen what you expect – what you long for and expect to see? [click to continue…]


Limitations and Letdowns

by Andy Wood on May 14, 2009

in Insight, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Waiting

(The Four Faces of Disappointment – Part 2)

d0001231I’m not asking for much.  I just want all my expectations fulfilled, and a complete removal of all limitations.

Of course… then I wouldn’t need God.  Then I’d BE God.

Disappointments are a startling, sometimes rude reminder that the job of God of the Universe has already been filled.

Yesterday I mentioned that in my own experiences of painful disappointment, like the experience of the children of Israel, four “faces” of disappointment have emerged.  The first two were delays and distressing people.  But I have found two other ways that God deliberately allows us to “feel the burn.”

3.  Dead Ends

These have to do with measurable limitations – things like life expectancy, dollars, and distance.  Dead ends often lead us to question God’s integrity, because He seems to be contradicting Himself.

It’s like one man said, “I thought becoming a Christian was the end of all my troubles.”  It is – the front end!

Examples of dead ends are everywhere: [click to continue…]


delaysSo have you had any disappointments?

That’s what an old friend asked me last week.

We hadn’t talked much in the last five years, and were in catch-up mode over lunch.  Because of the really good things happening at our church lately, I had gushed a lot about how great things are.  Then he caught me flat-footed with that question, and I gave him my best deer-in-the headlights gaze.

The answer was obvious, but I had to think a bit before I could actually name any.  I finally regained my wits and offered a random list of times when Church World had punched me in the gut.  But they were nothing, I hastened to say, compared to the joy and gratitude we were experiencing these days.

In thinking a bit more about the experiences I’d shared, I realized with stunning 20/20 hindsight that my disappointments weren’t all that random after all.  [click to continue…]

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lemonade-standIt all started with an idea in the mind of a four-year-old.  Cassie certainly wasn’t the first kid to set up shop as a lemonade business.  But she’d read about it or seen it on some cartoon or something, and she was inspired.

We were living in Birmingham.  Corner lot, pretty busy street.  But that didn’t deter Miss Entrepreneur and her twin sister.  They were out to make some money, and had just been given a sure-fire way to do it.

What do you say to a born dreamer, with stars in her eyes, and a plan for making her dreams come true?


You say, “Okay.”

That’s what Mamma said, and she went about helping the twins prepare for their first business venture.  There was a table to set up, a sign to make, and, of course, a pitcher of lemonade and cooler of ice to prepare.

And there were the pigtails.  I’ll never forget the pigtails. [click to continue…]