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Hearing God

Okay, so try this.  Let’s take a little mental inventory.  Go back to the twilight of your thinking last night – that mental place where you drift between the time you close your eyes and the time you actually go to sleep.  (I can tell you mine, but I’m saving it for a future blog post… watch for something called the “three A’s.”)

Or… how about the first line of thinking out of the mental gate this morning – that place where your mind went before you got out of bed?

Was it something to do?

Something you were worried about?

Some pressure, or pain?  Or some pleasure or something/someone you were grateful for?

Was it a longing, or an idea?  Or a feeling of dread?

Recapture that thought or line of thinking for a minute… then go behind it… and look for the desire. Based on your thinking, mentally complete this sentence:  “I want to _____________.”

It could be something you want to feel.

Could be something you want to accomplish.

Could be something you want to experience.

Could be somebody you want to connect with, serve, or resolve an issue with.

Got it yet?  Okay, let’s dig a little deeper. [click to continue…]

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Wherever you may find yourself this Christmas – in prosperity or poverty, health or sickness, laughter or tears, togetherness or solitude – I pray that you will experience the same sense of wonder, gratitude, and grace (and more) that I have found. 

I pray that in the midst of all you call blessings, you experience the beauty of knowing the miracle of being loved in this life – deeply, fully, completely…

That the evening shadows and stars remind you of the one star that mattered most and the Spirit behind it, guiding those who sought Jesus to discover His presence, and to miss Herod’s schemes…

That as heaven and nature sing of the glory of God, the mountains you face only serve as reminders that they are no match for the love He has shown you in His coming and His care…

That Jesus, our Emmanuel, would manifest His faithful awareness and presence and the miracle that takes place when God and sinners are reconciled in love and grace…

That whether you hear His voice in a prayer or a song, a promise or a still small voice, that you would truly hear it – and that as He sings over you, you would taste and see that the Lord is good,  His mercy everlasting, and His truth endures forever to you and yours…

That joyfully and triumphantly, you would live in anticipation and adoration of the Word of the Father who appeared in flesh, and that you would not for one moment miss the opportunity to invest your life in what He is still doing today…

That in the silence of the night or the newness and glory of the morning, you would experience again and again the coming of the King – with the promise that the One who lit the sky once will split the sky when He comes again to claim you…

That the nearness and tender care of the Lord Jesus would carry you through the seasons of loss and the memories of those you miss this Christmas season…

And that the Carpenter’s son who built a bridge of goodness and light will find you waiting, however long it takes, for the day He returns.

Merry Christmas!

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“It’s going to be fun to watch and see how long the meek can keep the earth once they inherit it”  -Kin Hubbard.

“The meek shall inherit the earth – if that’s okay with everybody” (Motto of the Dependent Organization of Really Meek and Timid Souls, or D.O.O.R.M.A.T).  -J. Upton Dickson

“He leads the humble in what is right, teaching them his way. The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all those who keep his covenant and obey his decrees.”  -Psalm 25:9-10, NLT

It’s quiet on this Monday morning, except for the sound of a rooster and a fiddle, an infant’s grunts from his swing, and a toddler’s delighted dancing as she watches – again – the Baby Einstein “Life on the Farm” video.  Watching the two of them – especially with scenes from an abundant earth passing by – reminds me from the last post how we were wired from creation and birth. 

We were created to inherit the earth.  It’s in our DNA.  But in the wisdom of God, He knew we would need help.  His help.  Without it, we have the capacity to do – well, what we’ve pretty much done with the planet.

That’s why Jesus – quoting Psalm 37 – said that the delighted happiness that comes from inheriting the earth is reserved for a specific kind of person.  Yep – the meek.

So He Reserves It for Sissies?

Not exactly.  [click to continue…]

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Will You Trust Him?

by Andy Wood on March 5, 2010

in Turning Points

It was a momentous day, and I thought I knew why.  Boy, did I have another thing coming. 

It happened on an early morning in late August 1976.  I was about to enter a new phase in my life called “college.”  And today was registration day.

Preparations for this day had begun several years earlier.  I was blessed to have one of those life-changer teachers in high school who saw it as her mission, partly, to give us a taste of what university life would be like.  And I have to say, thanks to her, to whatever degree I may have dissed schoolwork in high school, I had my game face on now.

This was college.  This was serious.

Advisors and friends had also prepared me for what to expect when freshmen show up at registration. 

“You want what class?  Nice try. That class closed when the sophomores came through here yesterday.”

Nevertheless, I had made out a schedule, and thought it was a good fit for me.  I was excited.  But I also wanted to be teachable and flexible.

Oh yeah, and godly.

So before I left for the campus, I knelt beside my bed and laid out my pre-designed schedule in front of me.  And I began to pray.  My prayer went something like this: [click to continue…]

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The Lion Dream

by Andy Wood on October 23, 2009

in Insight,Life Currency,Turning Points

From our Fifth Anniversary Celebration

From our Fifth Anniversary Celebration

Walk inside my office and look to the left, just under the big window.  There you will find one of my most cherished possessions.  It’s an original framed caricature of a lion inside a cardboard box.  It was given to me for Christmas 2003 by two dear friends.  And it’s the kind of thing that when you see it, you know there’s a story behind it.  And if you’re in my office for the first time, as a couple was yesterday, it’s only natural that you would ask about it.

So I thought I’d tell you the story behind it.  This is the story of the Lion Dream. [click to continue…]

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The Sting and the Save

by Andy Wood on October 12, 2009

in Tense Truths

Okay, first watch the short video, then let’s talk. 

This is an adaptation of a story Henri Nouwen used to tell.  Voice, illustrations, direction by Allen Weathers…

YouTube Preview Image

Before the dawn of time as we know it, God foresaw.  [click to continue…]

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dream“Then I told them about the desire God had put into my heart.”

-Nehemiah 2:18

Today it seems little.  Important, yes, but H-O scale.  But on that day, it was larger than life – even larger than health.  And a lesson awaited that was life-changing.

From the time I was 15 years old, I knew that God was leading me to be a pastor.  I also knew there would be a pathway to get there, and five years later, I was still on that pathway.  I was about the graduate from college.  For a year I’d had the privilege of serving at my very first church, full-time in the summer, and on the weekends during school.  The people there were gracious and really patient.  It had been a wonderful experience.  Now, as I was about to graduate from college, both the church and I were preparing to move on.

Because I was a July graduate, and had blown through college in three years, I decided to lay out a year before going to graduate school.  When the church caught wind of it, they were delighted to meet with me on a Sunday night and offer me a full-time position.  They offered me more than twice what I had ever made in a year (if I told you how much it was, you’d laugh).  I said it sounded good; just let me take the week and pray about it, and I’d let them know the next Sunday.  I left town that night assuming that the next year of my life was set.

Just one slight problem.  [click to continue…]

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planting“Our behavior, attitudes, and initiatives toward others are an act of sowing.  The acts of others toward us, at least in a general sense, are an act of reaping.  If others are being critical, judgmental, or hostile to us, before we write them off as uncaring jerks, it may be wise to examine what we’ve been sowing in our own attitudes and relationships.  If we aren’t seeing generosity being returned, maybe we haven’t been giving.”

-from my journal, January 10, 2001

Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others – ignoring God! – harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life (Galatians 6:7-8, The Message).

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Sometimes when the Lord wants to tell me something significant, he opens my eyes.

Sometimes he closes them.  Literally.  And speaks to me through a dream.

A few years ago I was on an airplane, reading about how God reveals himself through dreams, and I decided to see if the Lord had anything to say to me in that manner.  That night in the hotel room, I asked him to speak to me through my dreams, and I “instructed” my brain to remember.

Remember I did.  Clearly.  Vividly.  Unforgettably. [click to continue…]

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Photo by Dolinski

Pastors get lots of interesting questions.  You be the pastor for a minute and answer this one I once received:

Does God like to have fun?  What does God do for fun?

What would you say?  To me, it’s a sad commentary on our Christianity when someone even has to ask the first question.  But both questions deserve an answer, or at least a thought.  Here, for what it’s worth, is mine.  Click on the comments link below and share yours.

Does God like to have fun?  You bet he does!  Have you ever seen a platypus?  Or a puppy?  Or a picture of me?

Does God like to have fun?  Of course!  Why else would he put two sisters in the same family, and give one straight blonde hair and the other one curly dark hair?  In fact, why else would He create everybody so differently? [click to continue…]

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Can You Be Content AND Change the World?

by Andy Wood on August 18, 2008

in Tense Truths

Tense Truth:  I must learn to accept the world and its circumstances as it is, not as I would have it.  I must also learn to take courageous action to be an agent of change.  The wisdom to know the difference is found in the discipline of hearing God’s voice.

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Contentment and Change decided to play table tennis one day.  I was the ball.  Can you relate?

Serve:  Be grateful for all you have.

Return:  Do something to change the world!

Rest in the Lord.  Wait quietly for Him.

Press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ.

Be still.

Get off your butt.

Surrender.

Seize every opportunity.

Be content!

Don’t be complacent!

Don’t be covetous.

Be courageous.

Wow.  I’m tired, and I’m not ever keeping score.  I’ve never bothered to even count the number of times I’ve zigged (tried to change something) when I should have zagged (been content with the situation).  Or vice-versa – when the call was to hit the ground running, I hit the hay. [click to continue…]

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