Fear

Empty Tomb of Jesus at Night

For the last 2,000 years people from all over the world have staked their futures around two events that, for them, represent the most transforming experience in history. I’m referring to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

One of the most compelling proofs of the power of those two events is in the changed character of Jesus’ followers.  Talk about Jekyll-and-Hyde! This ragtag group of crazies went from cowering wimps to a fearless army of witnesses with a single message:  Jesus lives.

These people didn’t wait until the resurrection to believe in Christ.  But they experienced a profound change in their faith when they encountered a living, victorious Lord.

So will you.

Even today it’s possible to know in your head that Jesus is alive, but live as though it’s still Friday night. In other words to believe in Jesus as though He were dead.  So how can you tell the difference?  Here are five signs you’re living on “Friday night” faith: [click to continue…]

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Child sitting on a pier and drinking tea on a cold evening

Believe it or not, the time will come…

the realization will dawn…

your heart will rest

Because for the first time in a long time,

perhaps the first time ever,

you will know that your waiting is done.

But there you will discover another kind of waiting –

one of attending…

loving focus…

adoring and serving.

And then more than ever, it will be worth the wait. [click to continue…]

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Thunderstorm and lightnings in night over a lake with reflaction

It doesn’t take much for a breeze
To become a roaring fury –
Or a gentle, soaking shower
To become a fierce, howling squall.
In a matter of mere moments,
The elements that nourish you
Can soon threaten to destroy you
Or just paralyze you with fear.

That is true in the natural…
More so in the relational.
Sometimes the waves that pound at you
Are tides of public opinion.
Sometimes the winds that howl to you
Are the voices of the critics.
Sometimes the raindrops that pelt you
Are problems with no solutions.

When storms are raging,
It’s time for engaging
Your faith, your hope, and your love. [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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Ebola

(Or whatever has us in a panic today)

The headlines are curious today, after weeks of holding us hostage over a disease that Americans steadfastly wish to remain somebody else’s problem.  “COMPASSION URGED IN DALLAS AS EBOLA MONITORING ENDS” says the USA Today headline.

Who is this compassion aimed for?

People who don’t have the disease.

So why do they need compassion?

Because at one time we were afraid they may have it.

But after 21 days of having their lives quarantined while the politicians, media, talk radio and social media had everybody in a frenzy, now the science says, they don’t have it.  Meanwhile, two nurses who were doing their jobs caring for the one person who has died from the disease in the U.S. now are fighting the virus, and we pray for their healing and recovery.

In the meantime, Dallas, please be kind to people you may otherwise want to avoid like the you-know-what.  It’s the American thing to do. [click to continue…]

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Quicksand

Ever have a conversation like this?

Whatever happened to ________? I really thought he was going places.

Not sure.  Ever since [insert a distracting or demoralizing event] he never was quite the same.

I’ve witnessed countless scenarios like that one. I even lived out a few of them.

The idea of leadership is that you’re influencing people, formally or informally, to move together toward a certain goal.  If it were easy, anybody could do it.  But because you’re dealing with people, and because leadership often involves matters of the heart, it’s easy to find yourself sucked into leadership quicksand.

At best, it’s a distraction and you lose focus.

At worst, it can paralyze and ultimately destroy your influence.

Here are 10 sloughs to avoid (or get out of today) to allow your leadership to see another day: [click to continue…]

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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.

OK.

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…]

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icebergs

These are the days of a thousand moving parts.  Things will settle soon, as much as things ever actually “settle” for me, but for the last six months we have been in the process of a major interstate move.  We have moved a household, moved a business, and moved more than a few boxes.

Sometimes there are seasons of “transition.”  That doesn’t even begin to describe this.  And what makes it even heavier is that in the past there have been teams of people – people by the dozen – to help with the process.  This time it’s been the two of us, aided by some herculean efforts of some friends and family.

And should I mention today’s news flash?  I ain’t gettin’ any younger.

All of this on top of a regular work schedule that hasn’t waited for anyone or anything.

We all go through seasons like that – thankful that they’re just seasons.  We move.  We welcome new babies into the family.  We change jobs or careers.  We face upheavals at work.  We take on more than we think we can handle.  We are confronted with a fire or destructive weather event.

And all the parts start moving – some of them groaning all the way. [click to continue…]

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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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(Get Out of the Boat, Part 2)

Boat in storm

There’s a 92% chance that nobody will ever criticize you for playing it safe.

There’s an 11 out of 12 probability that when all hell’s breaking loose, it won’t be advisable for you to throw yourself headlong into something even more stressful.

There’s only an 8% likelihood the circumstances, life, people or even God would ever ask you to do something completely unprecedented, electrifyingly dangerous, or humanly impossible.

So you can probably just skip this post and resume your normal activities.

Unless…

Unless today’s that one-in-twelve – or once-in-a-lifetime – kind of day. [click to continue…]

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