Passion

We live in a disposable culture.  “Old” has been redefined by phone companies in terms of seconds, and kommitment has been karikatured by kertain kelebrities as a multimillion-dollar hoax. And in a culture where the official religion is the Church of Relative Truth, disposing of beliefs or vows is old news.

Science has made recycling possible, but we’ve taken the plunge with some things – and people – that never should have been “cycled” in the first place. It’s one thing to recycle McDonald’s napkins; recycling children is another story.  And some people recycle relationships with little more care than they might recycle motor oil or a milk jug.

Of course, some things should be disposed of, either because they’ve satisfied their purpose or because they hinder our growth and progress.  Henry Cloud, in his must-read book Necessary Endings, says,

“Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind, and moving on. Growth demands that we move on. Without the ability to end things, people stay stuck, never becoming who they are meant to be, never accomplishing all that their talents and abilities should afford them.”

We can’t be free to let go, however, until we have some clear life anchors – those beliefs, relationships, and commitments that keep us grounded and pointed in the right direction.  Simply put, there are some things you should never let go of.  The question is, how do you know what to throw away and what to keep?  What’s the difference between a relationship or belief that serves as an anchor and one that is more like a ball-and-chain?

Here’s where I would start in your search for life anchors: [click to continue…]

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Enjoy the video, then let’s visit.

In a perfect world motivation by leaders would be unnecessary.  Everybody would carry their own motivational weight, and the leaders would become traffic cops.

In an almost-perfect world, motivation would be the stuff of crock pots.  Slow.  Simmering. Relational.  A view toward the long haul.

But there come those times when you as a leader (and everybody leads somebody) don’t have the luxury of icebreakers, quiet talks by the seashore, or weekend group retreats laden with teambuilding exercises.  You need action.  Now!

Nothing can create a sense of desperation faster than staring at a date with destiny with an unprepared or unmotivated team or organization.  Nothing can make you throw a shoe or howl at the moon quicker than a group of constituents that just don’t seem to get it.  Pick your metaphor – the ship’s going down, the iron is hot, the Egyptians are coming, the boat’s leaving the dock – when the people we lead have to take massive action quickly, this is no time for a support group or a policy discussion.

Guess what?  Somebody in the Bible totally got it.  [click to continue…]

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As long as people have searched for direction, worshipped their Creator, and looked for language to express their passion and warmth, we have returned again and again to stand by the fire.

The fire was an agent of God’s guidance and an ongoing expression of worship in the days of the tabernacle.  And we kept returning to stand by the fire.

A refiner and cleansing agent of the hearts of men, the fire was a symbol of God’s hatred for sin and an affirmation for the prophets who spoke His truth.  And again and again, we kept returning to stand by the fire.

The fire was a weapon of God’s voice, a light in the darkness, and an expression of hospitality and welcome. And from the dark places and lonely spaces, still we kept coming to stand by the fire.

The fire revealed a passion for God’s word in our bones, the baptism of the believer, the instrument of God’s testing, and the piercing gaze of the risen Christ.  And out of desperation or terror, love or longing, still we kept coming to stand by the fire.

And even today the Spirit and Bride invite you to come.  To be warmed and convicted and cleansed and restored and pure as you stand by the fire. [click to continue…]

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Remember when you wanted that whatever-it-was from Santa Claus?  Or your employer?  Or your spouse or parents or educators or whoever… only to get it and be disappointed?

Remember when you thought, “If I could just make this amount of money, I would be content?”  And you did… and you weren’t?

Remember the time you dreamed and dreamed and dreamed some more about a meaningful goal and were disappointed?  But it didn’t keep you from dreaming some more?

Remember when you didn’t have your health or didn’t have any money or didn’t have anybody and it was all you could think about?  Then when health or wealth or somebody showed up, it only served to point out something else you don’t have – and now all you think about is that?

All these and more are examples of something that stirs us, motivates us, alarms us or moves us in a certain direction, but never quite allows us to rest once we get where we think we’re going.

I’m talking about your Driving Force, and yes, you have one.  Maybe more than one. [click to continue…]

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Descants of the Soul

by Andy Wood on June 15, 2011

in Life Currency, Love, Words

There’s this song I want to tell you about.  I’ll get to that in a minute.  First I want to tell you why I want to tell you.  Or why you pass the word, purchase that ticket, read another book with that theme, or are drawn to a certain genre of storyline or TV show.

It’s all about the descants of the soul.

I don’t remember when I first noticed it or when I first mentioned it to somebody else, but it’s been a while.  I began to notice that there were certain movies I found myself drawn to.  No matter whether it was comedy, science fiction, intense drama or cheesy love stories, I found I was a sucker for stories where one person could make a profound difference.

It was my first discovery of the descants of the soul.

“Descant” is a musical term that in its most literal form means “a different song.”  More precisely, a descant is an independent, ornamental melody sung or played above the main theme in a piece of music.

In life, it’s the story behind the story.  The “song” that leaps from movies to music to conversations to dreams and has a way of knitting them all together.

A descant of the soul is an inner “melody” that sings to you – and through you to others.  I have found that it’s also one of the ways that the Lord can uniquely speak to you or get your attention more quickly.

Descants of the soul are recurring themes that move us, fascinate us, and sometimes call us to action or faith or risk or change.  [click to continue…]

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If your paychecks came from Ford Motor Company in the 1970s, you lived in an ugly time.  Morale was low.  Sales were taking a beating.  Quality was “job none.”  And the company operated from an entrenched system of rules and regulations.  Into that demoralized environment, Donald Peterson became Ford’s CEO in 1980.

Peterson showed up tossing words around like “teamwork” and “upward communication.”  But words mean nothing to entrenched bureaucracies.  So Peterson tried something radical – he left his office.  He would walk into the offices of designers and ask simple questions like:

  • Do you like these cars?
  • Do you feel proud of them?
  • Would you park one in your driveway?

I think you can guess the answer he received.

Your job, Peterson said, is to come up with the cars you think will sell – cars you can be proud of.  The results were stunning and quick, by auto industry standards.  The first significant product was the 1983 Thunderbird, followed quickly by the wildly successful Taurus, which became the best-selling midsized car in America.

That was just for starters.  During the 1980s, Ford reversed its dismal previous performance to record then-record-breaking profits.  Peterson was chosen by his fellow CEOs as the nation’s most effective leader, surpassing even Lee Iacocca.

What made the difference?  Donald Peterson was a Side-by-Side Leader.   In the words of Robert Richardson and Katherine Thayer, “Peterson didn’t accomplish all this by sitting behind a desk and telling people what he wanted done.  He rolled up his shirt sleeves and jumped in.  He provided a direction and goal and then participated in making them reality.”

Your Worst Skydiving Fear

Imagine you are an inexperienced skydiver.  You’ve been on a few jumps, but still think of yourself as a rookie.  It’s a beautiful day for flying and jumping out of airplanes, so up you go.  You reach the point where it’s time to pull the ripcord, and it malfunctions.  To your horror, so does the backup chute.

Suddenly it’s not such a good day for jumping out of airplanes. [click to continue…]

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When I’ve lost the fire of passion and power and feel reduced to ashes and embers, will You be the Fire that burns in my soul?

When you’ve lost the fire of passion and power and feel reduced to ashes and embers, I’ll be the Fire that burns in your soul.  I still love you.  And I’m still here.

When I’m standing alone in a crowded room and feel unnoticed… forgotten… alone… will You be the Truth that reminds me I’m not?

When you’re standing alone in a crowded room and feel unnoticed… forgotten… alone… I’ll be the Truth that reminds you you’re not.  I still love you.  And I’m still here. [click to continue…]

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Life Shapers

by Andy Wood on February 5, 2011

in Ability, Life Currency, Love

I have a friend who makes me funny.  Not makes me laugh.  He makes me funny. As in Night-at-the-Improv, bust-a-gut hilarious.  I hear myself say things to him I wish I could remember later and somehow capture the moment.  

There are plenty of times when I do OK by a crowd and generate a smile or two.  But this guy takes me to a whole other place.

How does he do it?  For starters, he has a very rewarding laugh – one that boldly proclaims, “I think you’re funny.”  He also anticipates the fact that I’m going to make him laugh.  He’s always on the edge of another crack-up when we talk.  On top of that, he tells other people how funny I am.  The laughter we have shared has forged a unique identity I step into whenever we talk or get together.

I have another friend who makes me wise.  As in Child-of-Solomon, guru-deep profound.  [click to continue…]

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You can accomplish every task set before you, live your life as a model of get-it-doneness, and die with a clean desk… and a completely unfulfilled life.

It’s possible to check off every box on your to-do list today, yet go to sleep tonight completely joyless… only to do it all over again tomorrow.

You may be the one everybody calls for help with prioritizing, streamlining, simplifying and ordering, only for your phone to grow cold when it’s hang-out time.

I think I may have found the problem… and the solution.

Get out of time management.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit too strong.  Let me try again… Don’t just manage your time.  Lead it.

There’s a huge difference between the two.  [click to continue…]

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The Gift of Being There

by Andy Wood on December 8, 2010

in Life Currency, Love

It’s a common exchange, repeated in restaurants, homes, and shopping malls everywhere…

“Oh there you are!  I’ve been looking for you everywhere.”

“I’ve been right here the whole time.”

Life gives us seasons – and this is one of them – when we are reminded that the greatest blessings come in the form of the simple happiness of relationships.  Working together.  Enjoying down time together.  Praying together.  Simply enjoying the Gift of Being There…

It’s one of the most common prayer requests you’ll hear, especially for someone who’s going though “the stuff.”  The theology is a little strange, because somebody’s asking God to do what He is already doing.  But we all sort of know what it means:  “Lord, be with them during this time.”  We’re asking God to give someone else the Gift of Being There.

I can’t think of a more God-like expression of generosity, grace, and love than what some people call “the ministry of presence.”   [click to continue…]

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