Love

(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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personal

You never know who’s watching.

You never know who models his or her life after you.  Sure, there are the ten percent who make it clear, but like icebergs, the other ninety are quiet. Below the surface and virtually invisible, but no doubt there.

All the while watching… for a path to follow… a faith to imitate… or a life that’s contagious.

So walk your path authentically. Believe hopefully.  Live abundantly, all the while leaving clues for searching hearts to find.

Because somebody’s watching.  And they’re following you. [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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Relaxing in the park

If all you knew about love was rumor and reputation,
If all you held on to were wistful hopes or magical memories…
If everything you trusted to carry you relied on fair weather
Or the favor of fickle people,
Then whatever you know of love would be vain.

But there is a Love that is real, that stands and delivers
More than wishful thinking or the Good Ole Days…
A Love that lasts through the strain of the Dog days
And the pain of disappointing people…
A Love that goes to the Ends of the Earth.

If all you knew of love was agreement and approval,
And the whole world danced while you sang your song…
If every morning greeted you with sunshine and rainbows
And the endless praise of life-long admirers,
Then what you call Love is at best empty.

But there is a Love that holds on to you when life pushes back,
And embraces you warmly when people grow cold.
A Love that endures the pelting of blinding storms
And the ignorance of sightless critics…
A Love that goes to the Ends of the Earth. [click to continue…]

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Friends

Did you know that a golf ball has a sweet spot? The next time you tee one up, position it so that you’re hitting the label… hopefully with the sweet spot of your driver.

Did you know that a Christian life has a sweet spot too?

I have made many discoveries over the years, and many of them have been impactful. But this is one of the most important, powerful, and life-changing principles I have ever made in 40-plus years of being a Christian. This is going to sound a little over-the-top, but if you master this one principle, the transformation in your own life, to say nothing of your influence and circumstances, can be breathtaking.

On a broader scale, if the people you worship and fellowship with could really get this as a church, there is no limit to the influence you display.

Getting this – I mean really getting it – can explain why you tend to sabotage yourself after you’ve made progress toward a goal.

It may explain why your relationships go in frustrating cycles – hot today, cold tomorrow… intimate today, lonely later.

It may explain why you may have a lot of money or no money and not be affected one way or another in terms of your happiness or joy.

Discovering and practicing this one simple (didn’t say “easy”) idea can give you a shortcut to solving problems, healing relationships, and moving forward in every single area of your life.

Interested?

At least curious?

Okay, check back tomorrow.

Just kidding. [click to continue…]

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Grandpaw and Button

One of my favorite pics of Grandpaw and Button

It was one of the many differences between us.  Maybe it was generational. Maybe it had more to do with personality. I don’t know.  To me it was silly at best, annoying it worst.

Corny, that’s it.  It was corny.

But my dad did it without apology, and routinely yucked about it.

“This is so-and-so,” he would say, “but I call him [insert nickname here].”

To know him well enough to banter at all – which for him meant more than one conversation – usually earned you some sort of nickname.

The manager of the local bank:  “I call her Cuz.”

A friend and pastor’s wife:  “Here comes Trouble.”

His and Dean’s friend Dolores got a play on the pronunciation, for no apparent reason:  “Doh-loh-reez.” [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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Teamwork

(In 100 words, every New Testament reference, in order, from John to 1 John, describing God’s vision for how Christ followers act toward each other. Read this slowly. Thoughtfully. Out loud if possible. Learn some things… watch the flow, note the repetitions… and remember, this means both giving and receiving, so go back and re-read it as a potential receiver. Leave a comment and tell me what you find. )

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Open door to dark room with bright light shining in.  Background Illustration.

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:20, NLT).

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Open the door, Someone is knocking.
Someone who awakens dormant dreams,
Who sees through the terrible darkness that surrounds you
And who feels with you in your sorrows and joys.

Open the door, Someone is calling.
Someone who feels the gaping distance,
Who reaches relentlessly across the heart-spaces,
And presses on to show you His boundless love. [click to continue…]

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