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Pride

No.

Not if the focus is more on the office of the leader than on the needs of the led.  Leaders tend to have places in authority that give them the power to move people around, get people to do (or not do) things, hire and fire people, and in other ways mess with people’s lives.  Often those people (and the leaders) reverence the office more than the mission.  In Church World, I’ve been in places where “pastor” was synonymous with “Your Majesty.”  Where whims of the leader today become orders in stone tomorrow.  Where elders become rubber stamp specialists and people in general act like they just drank the Kool Aid – at least when the Anointed One is around.   And I don’t care who you are – that’s not healthy.

Not if there is a distinction between the interests of the leader and the good of the group.  [click to continue…]

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Bryce is a prisoner in his own home.  His really nice home with the pool, three-car garage, RV parking, and more bathrooms than family members.  His “friends” are (too) curious about his life and trappings, like something of a bad sequel to The Great Gatsby.  And despite his material success, Bryce remains restless, empty, and hungry for that One Honest Touch.

Tony is a prisoner in his own accomplishments.  A hyper-achiever, he lives in a world of “What mountain have you climbed lately?”  Last year’s exploits are old news to a bored world, many of whom live vicariously through Tony’s courage and imagination.  Inwardly terrified to admit he’s just as bored and scared as they are, Tony longs for that One Honest Touch.

Madison is a prisoner in her own skin.  Always a head turner looks-wise, for as long as she can remember, Maddie’s life has been revolving door of one vain relationship after another.  Superficial.  Super-physical.  Super-lonely.  Her striking beauty has always ensured her all the attention she could ever ask for.  But it never has given her what her heart cries out for most – that One Honest Touch.

Deep Connection

All of us were created with a capacity, and need for, deep connection.  A Touch.  And our spirits never rest until we have it. [click to continue…]

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(The further adventures of Eugene Davis, Sophomore Christian)

“What would be s good time to come by your office?”

The voice on the other end of the phone was none other than Eugene Davis, Sophomore Christian and resident expert on all things spiritually enormous.

Normally Eugene would pop in, sort of like the Allies dropped by to pay the Germans a visit at Normandy.  But this was different.  It had the air of urgency.  Eugene Davis was always serious and everything was important.  But this was a step beyond.  It was deliberate.  Ruggedly precise.  Appointment-worthy.

“I’m free about 3:00,” I said.  ”What’s up?”  (To this day I don’t like ambushes in meetings.)

“I think the Lord has given me a vision.”

“Well,” said I, ”I’ll be here.  Come on by.”

Apparently I didn’t send the right signal.  Didn’t catch the gravy of the situation.  This was a vision.  From God! [click to continue…]

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Pssst.

Hey.

Yes, you.

We need to talk.  Really I need to talk and you need to just shut up and listen.  I don’t mean to be mean.  But the most elite fighting force in heaven or on earth is spread all around you.  Their shields are up, and nothing can penetrate them.  Their swords are drawn, and no force in hell or on earth can resist them.  And they’re on your side.

And they’re doing absolutely nothing.

Just watching you get your brains beat out by an enemy that is smarter, craftier, and more powerful than you are. [click to continue…]

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I believe that it is not dying that people are afraid of.  Something else, something more unsettling and more tragic than dying frightens us.  We are afraid of never having lived, of coming to the end of our days with the sense that we were never really alive, that we never figured out what life was for. – Harold Kushner

The great Presbyterian pastor Donald Grey Barnhouse was once riding in a funeral procession in Philadelphia when he noticed a large cargo truck running in front of the procession.  From the way the sun was positioned, he noticed that the truck was casting a large shadow on the sidewalk.  That shadow crossed light poles, road signs, and even people, and didn’t harm anything.  No one would want to be in front of the truck, mind you, but the shadow was harmless.

Every one of us was born on the other side of something called “labor.”  We enter the world completely helpless and fragile, totally dependent on the protection, care and kindness of others.  We borrow the oxygen and assorted things for a span of time the Bible calls a “vapor.”   Despite our claims to ownership, we take no possessions with us.  And we end our sojourn on earth passing through something called a “shadow.”

Birth is a labor soon forgotten…

Life is a vapor quickly fading…

Possessions are an illusion suddenly passing…

Death is shadow silently creeping…

Is there any wonder we struggle sometimes to know what’s real?  And what’s valuable? [click to continue…]

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I can take you to the spot.

I can point to where I was standing.

The old, worn gold carpet is long gone, I’m sure.  The house on Watson Road has likely been redecorated many times since we lived there.

But there’s no mistaking that spot where I made one of the most life-altering decisions of my life.  And get this:  I never told a soul about it.  In fact, I never uttered a word.  But in a silent transaction of the mind, will, and emotions, with three simple words I began a process of sowing to the wind… and reaping a whirlwind.

The words?

I.

Give.

Up. [click to continue…]

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(Tense Truth:  Every believer occupies a position of victory and authority because of the finished work of Christ. But we can position ourselves to fall victim to Satan – an already-defeated foe.)

He’s the player to be named later.  The unwelcome guest at any crisis, the unspoken stalker behind every fear.  He’s the artful author of your doubtful thoughts about God and the persistent reminder that you should just go ahead and quit. 

And before a wise apostle concludes his note of encouragement to suffering believers, he puts in a plug to remind you and me…

This lion doesn’t sleep tonight.  Or any night.

Pull back the Curtain of the Seen in the Land of the Obvious, and you will find that behind every frustration, accompanying every conflict, and beside every expression of trust in God, a battle is being waged.  And you’re in it. [click to continue…]

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I want to talk to you about something that for some people is pretty painful and scary.  Because of that, I want to say first that I am writing this in love.  I hope you can feel the love that compels me to say these things, even if they are difficult to receive or comprehend.

If this isn’t for you, it’s for somebody you know.  Maybe you can pass it along.

The truth is, I am afraid for you.

As you look in the mirror, as you go forth into the world, and as you relate to others, you only know two views.

You’re either a hero or a zero.

You are either on a pedestal or in the sewer.  [click to continue…]

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What Would You Do If You Wuz the Devil?

by Andy Wood on August 12, 2010

in Uncategorized

“What would you do if you wuz the devil?” Aunt Ruth asked. 

“I’d retire and sue the movie industry for back pay,” I said.

Aunt Ruth was neither my aunt, nor was she named “Ruth.”  Through a series of circumstances I don’t have space to tell, that’s what I wound up calling her.  Crusty, funny, frank, and yes – godly – Aunt Ruth had eyes that danced long after her feet no longer could.  Today her eyes were dancing.

“I’m serious,” she said.  “What would you do?”

“Oh, the usual, I guess.  Lust, greed, bitterness.  Why are you asking?”  (We’d been talking about how blessed we were as a church, and how excited I was about the future.)

“Come on, boy, he’s got more sense than that!  Too bad you don’t.” [click to continue…]

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It all started with that 55-mph speed limit.   In the mid-1970s, Americans traded in their muscle cars for Toyotas and slowed down.

But a certain segment of the population balked.  These people were paid to transport goods to their destinations in a timely manner, and felt that the new speed limits were doing considerable harm to their livelihood.  So they started working together to cover each other’s back.

This created a fad that spawned a counterculture, complete with its own lingo, music, and personal identities.  Everybody, it seemed, rushed out to get a CB radio.

Once the stuff of rescue workers, hobbyists, and the like, citizens-band radios became standard equipment in many vehicles.  Gone were the official call-letters used by the “legal eagles” who actually paid for a license to use the things (KFN 0508, if you even remotely care what ours was).  Everybody used a “handle.”

A handle was a nickname you gave yourself so that people could “grab hold” of you by saying something along the lines of, “Break, one-nine.  How ‘bout that Blue Goose?  You got your ears on”?  And you, assuming that was your handle, would reply something like, “Ten-four, good buddy.”

No, children, I’m not making this up.

CBs, for the most part, have gone the way of the 55-mph speed limit, though our trucker friends still use them.  But you still have a handle – a unique identity by which you can be “grabbed.”  [click to continue…]

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