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Legacy

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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This may be a leap, but let’s assume for a minute that you know what it is you want, and you’re pursuing it.  I don’t mean what you’re conquering in your search for lunch.  I’m talking destiny, journey-of-desire stuff.  Maybe it’s to influence or gain the approval of someone.  Maybe it’s wisdom to make good choices or the ability to do something that’s hard or impossible for you right now.

Regardless, have you ever noticed that sometimes getting there feels like an eight-lane highway?  And other times, the minute you start moving in that direction it feels like you just turned onto a muddy jungle trail?

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the journey launches like gangbusters, but then stalls or stagnates?

Chances are, you came to a fork in the road and made a wrong turn.

Robert Frost was right in his famous poem about the two roads and choosing the one less traveled by.  What he failed to mention was that life or any worthwhile pursuit is a series of forks in the road, not just one.  One road leads to a path that makes it easier to pursue your dreams; the other leads to mediocrity, failure, and defeat.

Appearances are Deceptive

Paths that lead to mediocrity and failure are well-worn and popular.  They require the least mental effort or “soul work.”  But what starts off as the path of least resistance quickly turns to the path of resistance-beats-my-brains-out.

Other paths may appear to require a lot of work or may leave you feeling isolated and alone.  But somewhere in that spiritual, emotional, and mental work you activate forces that begin to carry your load, increase your speed, and move you in the direction of your truest desires.

The other tricky part about these forks in the road: [click to continue…]

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One of the dogwood trees my grandmother and I planted about 35 years ago.

The Leader of the Band is tired, and his eyes are growing old,

But his blood runs through my instrument, and his song is in my soul

My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man

I’m just a living legacy to the Leader of the Band.

-Dan Fogelberg

Alison had that look in her eye.  Half smile, half dead-serious, she walked up and to me and said, “Some of us have been talking.  And we’d like to ask you a favor.”

“What’s that?” I asked cautiously – bracing myself for, well, anything.

“We don’t know either of these people, and we don’t think they knew Grandmother all that well. We were wondering if you would say something – you know, more personal – in the service.”

Alison is my cousin, and she’d just asked the unthinkable – to stand up in front of a couple hundred family and friends and eulogize a family legend.

I’d done plenty of funerals before, but this one was different.  This was family. And not just any family member.  It was Grandmother, for cryin’ out loud. [click to continue…]

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Dear Cohen

by Andy Wood on February 23, 2010

in Five LV Laws,Life Currency,Love,Principle of Legacy

You came into the world a bit sooner than you were due, but no sooner than you were planned by your Heavenly Father.  And I can’t imagine a more beautiful baby has ever been born, or to more loving parents.  While you are our second grandchild, you are our first grandson, and will always be the firstborn of your mama and daddy.  For them, this has been a day of labor and risk, of waiting and prayer.  And today, February 23, 2010, you have made it worth it all.

You entered a family who has seen its share of joys and sorrows, laughter and tears.  But through it all, your family walks with a faith in the heart and love of the living God.  Your name means “priest,” and it was well-chosen.  You will live as an ambassador between God and humanity.  As you trust your life to the Lord Jesus, you will be part of a kingdom of priests – and you will be one of its standard bearers.

Your middle name, David, reflects both a noble family heritage and the Sweet Psalmist and Shepherd of Israel – the man after God’s own heart.  I pray that you will spend a lifetime discovering what that means.

You were born into a world filled with change and challenges, and no shortage of opinions.  In many ways the world you inherited is not kind.  [click to continue…]

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generations-3“Something’s wrong with your work.” The conversation eventually landed there.

A member of the denomination’s hierarchy delivered the critical review to a faithful old pastor during a prescribed periodic evaluation.

“Only one convert has been added to your church this year, and he is only a boy,” the boss said.

Later that same day, the pastor languished alone in his study, praying with a heavy heart, when someone walked up behind him. [click to continue…]

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