Hope

(And You Can and Should, Too)

Travel with me to an ancient version of Death Row. A lonely old man sits in isolation – a rare occurrence for a life so well-traveled and surrounded with people. And he awaits his fate.

He’s a dead man walking.

Yet even though his body is scarred and his bones crooked from a hardened life, he doesn’t have the same despair or desperation that’s typical of someone living under a death sentence. In fact, he has – dare I say it? – a sense of satisfaction. Fulfillment. Maybe even a touch of pride.

How do I know? His own words.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Those words from Paul have carried a new fascination for me recently.  Here was a man who know what his life was about, and lived it. He followed the course laid out for him, and he finished it.

Put in other language, Paul had a vision, and throughout his life he stubbornly, doggedly, faithfully pursued that vision.  Doing so was costly in the short run. He was routinely run out of town, beaten to a pulp, deserted by his friends, and bedeviled by danger. But to him it was a price worth paying, to get to the end of his life with two things: [click to continue…]

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Refugees

Once upon a time, long ago a man was sent on a mission.  His responsibilities were clearly laid out and for a while he kept them.  But one night he went for a walk and found himself lost.

Lost.

And in the domain of a foreign kingdom.

He was hungry. He was tired.  He no longer had the resources provided for him by those who sent him. So he asked for help from the kingdom where he was a trespasser.

That didn’t go well. [click to continue…]

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Unclaimed

by Andy Wood on December 2, 2016

in Esteem, Five LV Laws, Life Currency, Principle of Legacy, Waiting

This photo from December 2013 - People scatter rose pedals during an interfaith graveside memorial service.in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

This photo from December 2013 – People scatter rose pedals during an interfaith graveside memorial service.in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Suppose you were hosting an event for a crowd north of 1,400 people.  Where would you have it?

That’s a pretty serious venue.  Unless your name is something like Biltmore, you can probably scratch the back yard or dining room off the list.  But hey, your local hotel ballroom may fit the bill. Depending on the nature of the event, a few church houses or large theaters or auditoriums would work.

When was the last time you were part of a crowd that big? I was there a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve got to tell you, it was noticeable. Parking was a bit of a challenge. The venue was a little crowded. The energy was palpable. Lots of noise and excitement.

And no, I’m not referring to a Black Friday sale at Walmart.

But I want to tell you about a different kind of assembly. One where 1,430 people came together and hardly anyone noticed.  Parking wasn’t a problem.  Noise wasn’t an issue.  In fact, all was deathly(!) quiet, at a venue that was shockingly small.

The location: a mass grave. [click to continue…]

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Baby Ready

He’s this year’s first round draft choice. The Player to Be Named Later.  If you’re keeping score that’s number nine for us, and the eighth boy in a row.

Yep. It’s Baby Maybe season, and the landing gear is down.  He can be here at any time.

Now the official due date is sometime around the end of the month, but all indications point to a potential early arrival.  So we’ve made ourselves ready to go when the word goes forth.

We’re living with a sense of imminence.  And it’s affecting every part of our lives. [click to continue…]

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Gazing

Hold.

Such an ordinary, blue-collar word.

Industrial strength, geared for protection and defense, holding commands attention – not by rising to dizzying new heights of adventure or romance, but by remaining ruthlessly still…

Safe…

Steady.

Boring? Only when, in your desperation for a change, any change will do.

Oppressive? Only when you think the grass is greener somewhere else and you can’t get there.

Holding is a sign that somewhere there is someone or something that is stronger than you are – at least for the moment. You may be held back by your fears. Or held safely by that seat belt and airbag. Or held in the arms of someone who can comfort your heart.

But sooner or later fears subside. Belts are unbuckled. And people, however well-meaning, let go.

But there are everlasting arms and an all-powerful Strength that promises to hold you in love and peace long after all other sources are exhausted or used up.  [click to continue…]

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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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Wait in the Quiet – a Prayer for You

by Andy Wood on March 1, 2016

in LV Cycle, Prayers, Waiting

As you move all too quickly (and ever so carefully) through a boiling, brawling, bitter world, I lift you up today to the God of all peace and quiet, praying for you to find in Him a light in your midnight darkness.

Weary from the relentless call to more – more work, more solutions, more impossible demands – I pray that in Him even as your body sleeps, your heart would remain awake to a renewing that can only come to stilled souls. [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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My 2015 Christmas Prayer for You

by Andy Wood on December 25, 2015

in Prayers

Lubbock Christmas Card

As the night gives way to glorious light and the angels declare the glory of God as they war –

As wise men pursue a heart of worship and shepherds share the good news of great joy for all time and eternity…

As jealous kings and underlings cling to power and the world still groans with sighs of the taxed and moves along mindlessly…

I pray for you to the God who can still make the darkest of skies a canvass for His glory on this day. [click to continue…]

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Dandelion

Because of God’s great faithfulness and love, I enter boldly into His presence today to stand in the gap for you.   I pray that on this day that He has made that He would grant you to be…

Established in hope, and renewed in the expectation that a greater day awaits tomorrow…

Loosened from every limiting fear or false belief[click to continue…]

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