Legacy

Woke up this morning thinking about Ethel and Velma. These two ladies, who shared the same last name, lived together. Velma had been married to Ethel’s brother, who had died sometime earlier. Ethel never married. So in their latter years, these two sisters-in-law shared a house, along with a lot of family love and memories.

And quite a love for God.

Whenever I would go see them, it always felt like holy ground.  It was that classic case of going to be a blessing and winding up leaving with the greater blessing. Each was in her own way a marvelous encourager, and each in her own way a hell-stopping intercessor.

As time and age took their toll, eventually death came calling, and Ethel answered the door. I went by to see Velma, who had encouraged me so many times, to try to be an encouragement to her. While I was there, someone else came by, and I’ll never forget Velma’s first words to them. In her beautiful Southern drawl, Velma asked rhetorically, “What we gonna do without Ethel?” [click to continue…]

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(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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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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Dear James

by Andy Wood on November 23, 2016

in Life Currency, Love, Photos

papa-and-james

You first saw the light of day yesterday, a Monday, November 21, 2016. But you first lit our day today. And boy, did you light it. The world is full of pretty babies and we’ve seen our share. After all, you are number nine for us.  But I’ve gotta tell ya, you’re as beautiful as it gets, and it was worth the ride to hold you in our arms for the first of many times.

I should probably point out that you may have set some sort of world record for the most people holding a newborn in his first 24 hours. But there’s a reason.  [click to continue…]

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Love Friends Family

For all the ways you may have been blessed
Or tried to bless others,
And all the ways you have received
Or given value in this life,
After all the ways that people measure contributions
Or celebrate distinction,
The greatest legacy you could ever leave
Is that you were loved first, and loved in return.
That takes a lot of grace. And a little bit of faith. [click to continue…]

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RickI didn’t know it would be the last time.

But then again, we both had lived long enough to know there are no guarantees when it comes to this sort of thing.

It was in Orlando, coming up on three years ago.  Rick said he’d drive me back to the airport. We had been together during the Southern Baptist Convention. (It would be less-than-honest if I said we had been there FOR the Southern Baptist Convention).  But we used the meeting there as an opportunity for a reunion of the Wolfepack. Rick was always the undisputed leader of that gang.

During a difficult time in my life, they had made sure to include me in the meeting. And it was as though we had never missed a beat. That’s the nature of the truest of friends.

Rick dropped me off at the airport to fly home. Just after walking into the terminal, I realized to my horror that I had left my phone in his car.  I found a way to call it, and of course, he turned around and brought it back to me.

Doctored.

He took that picture of himself on it (above), and made it the wallpaper.

That was Rick.

And I kept it as my wallpaper for about a month after my wife started asking, “How long are you going to keep that?” [click to continue…]

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You entered our world today – January 5, 2012 – a little early, but with no shortage of anticipation, excitement and joy.  We have known for some time that your big brother Cohen would be sharing playing time with a little brother.  But that’s not the same as being able to see you, hold you, delight in you, and brag on you to the world.

Game on.

Let the seeing-holding-delighting-bragging begin!

The world you have been born into is a strange and beautiful place.  Right now in places like New Hampshire and South Carolina, Republican presidential candidates are courting actual votes of real people in primaries, after spending a year courting poll results and press attention.  All of that for the privilege of challenging President Barak Obama in this November’s election. [click to continue…]

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How do you want to be remembered?

By what you did?  What you said?  Who and how you loved?  What you accomplished or overcame?

That may or may not happen.

I was chatting with someone yesterday about the idea of legacy – one of those Five Laws of LifeVesting.  He asked me to clarify what I meant and how people leave legacies after their time on earth is done.  I said that legacy has two parts – the intentional and the unplanned.

There are some things I want to be remembered for, and I take action to make those memories while I still have a chance by investing my life in things that will live on after me.  This is why people give money, write things, do art or music, or make memories with people, just to name a few.

But your legacy has a life of its own, and you’re making memories all the time, whether you realize it or not.  Some of those are pretty routine.  Some are painful.  Some are glorious, and you don’t even know it.

Two days ago I got an email from Gotta-Love-Google-Land.  It came from somebody I knew in my very first church staff position, 33 years ago.  The message, framed with “thank you,” contained some profound memories.  What was interesting, though, was what all those memories had in common. [click to continue…]

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“I have something I’d like to discuss with you.”

Given my history with that kind of meeting request, I’m embarrassed to admit that my first instinct was to brace for bad news.  And given the fact that it came from my father-in-law, of all people, made me think I must really be in trouble.

What in the world could he possibly want?  What was so serious?  I started collecting a mental inventory of possibilities.  And in my head, started apologizing before I ever knew what the “something” was.

Turns out, apologies weren’t on the agenda.

Harlan Willis is one of the most tenderhearted, godliest men I know.  He has followed Christ since the age of 10, and committed himself to the Lord to become a medical missionary at the age of 15.  Both were profound experiences, and as a result, he invested a huge portion of his life to serving Christ and advancing the gospel in Thailand – and now for years in West Texas, where, at age 82 he is still practicing medicine and sharing Jesus.

But for years something has nagged him.  Bothered him since his teenage years.  That something has been the impression that he should be baptized.  Again.

And that’s what he wanted to talk to me about.  And he wanted me to do it.

Didn’t make sense.

For years he wondered if it was just the devil.

That didn’t make sense, either

But he couldn’t do it in Thailand!  What would the people there think?  What would the other missionaries think?

He couldn’t do it back in Texas.  What would the people in the church think?

This wasn’t a case of getting his baptism out of order, as often happens when people are baptized who really don’t understand what it is they are responding to in the gospel.

He knew.  Age 10.  And baptism came later.

But yet… here was this feeling.  This call. [click to continue…]

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Dear Jackson

by Andy Wood on July 14, 2011

in Life Currency, Love, Photos

Dear Jackson,

You entered our world today, July 14, 2011, the firstborn of a very excited and grateful Mom and Dad (weary, too, but who cares?). Every Daddy and Mommy are excited about the birth of a baby.  But I have never met a man more ready, more yearning, more longing to see his son than your father.  Just last night he told us on the phone, “I’m not worried – just anxious.”  Believe me, you were worth the wait.  To him.  To your Mommy.  To all of us.

Already, in the short time we have held you, watched your first bath and all the other things that go with saying hello to a newborn, you have filled our hearts.  I wonder if you’ll always like having your hair washed like you did that first time.  I wonder if, when you’re my age, you’ll have hair to wash, but we can talk about that later.

That was your Grammy who was doing all the galloping (yes, galloping) and hooting over you. [click to continue…]

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