Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 44

Wisdom Asks the Most Important Questions.

You see, in the final analysis it is between you and God. It was never was about you and them anyway.

A powerful closing to a soul-piercing poem by Mother Theresa.

It’s all too easy to excuse ourselves from doing what is right and good because of weaknesses we see in someone else, or even a group of people such as a church. We can always find weaknesses. We will continue to be hurt throughout life. And yet others’ shortcomings can become our excuses, if we let them.

Have you ever been hurt by someone and felt you had the right to tell them off, to gossip about them, or just ignore them?

Have you ever been hurt by someone (even, and perhaps especially, a Christian) and then shut yourself off from what you know God says, and from what is true–and justify your response because of them?

I am confident our honest answers to these questions have at times been (or currently are) “yes.” We could all tell our stories of hurts and also of ungodly responses (I know I could) —but ultimately the stories aren’t so important.

Our response to our story is incredibly important.

Time after time I have watched and listened as Wyndham has (in one way or another) empathetically listened to hurts and sad situations, and yet then asks the all-important questions:

How will you respond?

What will you do with Jesus?

Wisdom knows that the answer to these questions affect our eternity. Wisdom knows the answer is centered in Jesus.

Wisdom then asks the bottom line question, “What will you do with Jesus?”

This question is asked throughout the Bible in accounts such as the one in Matthew 27:22 when Jesus is on trial and Pilate asks the crowd, “What do I do with this Jesus…?”  Unfortunately, Pilate listens to the crowd. It was easier, in the short term to follow the crowd. It was safer, less messy, less difficult…less selfless.

When Wyndham was diagnosed with the cruel disease he carries in his body, his neurologist made the wise comment, “You will now get to do what everyone needs to do. You can focus on what is really most important in life.”  This was after sharing with him the foundation on which we have built, and continue to build our lives. (The wisdom and compassion of his neurologist is a gift…and perhaps a post for another time.)

It’s hard to stop and focus on what’s most important. It’s hard to ask the questions that are of utmost importance .

Wisdom stops. Wisdom focuses. Wisdom asks.

Wisdom pauses to recount the words Jesus speaks in John 6:63.

  The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (NLT)

Still, after hearing these words some walked away. It was hard, and they had excuses. Jesus asked the twelve, “Are you also going to leave?”

Peter knew there was nowhere else to go.

I’m grateful Wyndham asks the most important questions, How will you respond? What will you do with Jesus?

Wisdom knows there is nowhere else to go. Nothing (no one) else offers eternal life.

How will you respond? What will you do with Jesus?

What does it really matter about “them?”

You see, in the final analysis it is between you and God. It was never was about you and them anyway.

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 43

Wisdom Understands Buckets and Funnels

Nor’easters. They are fierce. For those of us living in New England these mean high winds—accompanied by hearty downpours of rain or hefty droppings of snow.

Today’s forecast calls for a foot of snow. Last week’s nor’easter was a rain event (where we live). That storm was unusually strong—an “every few decades” happening.

Two weeks ago we (for the second time) had our kitchen ceiling “repaired” from damage caused by a nor’easter a couple of years ago. Water had dripped through the ceiling and light fixtures, through the floor, and into the basement. This recent repair was done just in time for the past week’s storm to undo all that had recently been fixed. (Actually, the repair only consisted of sanding and painting the ceiling, and obviously did not deal with the root of the problem.) The damage from this storm redamaged our ceiling—causing it to look just like it did before it was “fixed.” The water once again leaked out of the ceiling through the floor and into the basement. I placed a bucket on the floor to catch the drips. 

This unfortunate and true scenario reminds me of wisdom Wyndham has often dispensed as he (and we) have worked with individuals, marriages, and families. He has referred to this lesson as “buckets and funnels.”

In other words, the contents of the buckets that have been poured into us (by our families, our experiences, our hurts, our pains) will be funneled out from us to other receiving buckets (spouse, children, work associates, family members). When someone’s toxic bucket (full of harmful and sinful patterns) is funneled into ours we get hurt, and the contents of our own buckets can become rancid—filled with bitterness, envy, and all sorts of unresolved relationships and feelings. These, in turn, get funneled into others’ buckets. This keeps on happening—unless we stop the madness.

Wisdom knows we must each recognize what has been funneled into our bucket (both good and bad). We must then stop funneling and leaking harmful thoughts and practices into others’ buckets. We can’t just sand and paint over our buckets. We must fix what’s inside, find the root of the bad, and do repair work. We can’t control what has been poured into our bucket, but we can control what is funneled out.

Toxic becomes pure only through the grace and forgiveness found in Jesus, and the power of his Spirit to change our lives. He allows us to recognize the sludge and empty it from our buckets. Only then can we refill our bucket with the fruits of God’s Spirit, and experience his healing forgiveness. Then, when these purified and refilled buckets are funneled all kinds of good results—and many lives are blessed.

How often I’ve listened as Wyndham has patiently helped men and women discover what has (unintentionally) been filling their buckets and then spilling out and hurting others. He has helped them identify the poisonous contents, dump them out, and by God’s power replace them with what is good, true, and right. Then, they can pass on what is good and true and right.

The storms will continue to come. The water that goes through our roof and into our ceiling will come out, just as what goes into our bucket will funnel out. We can’t just sand and paint over problems and expect our lives to be fixed. They must be repaired and changed from the inside out. The only repair comes through Jesus and his words. He can empty our trash and fill our buckets with his treasures.

Today a big storm is coming. I will need to catch any leaks with a bucket until I discover the real problem. Meanwhile, check your bucket. The contents will be funneled into others.

43  “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit;
44  for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.
45  The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.
Luke 6:43-45 (NRSV)

10  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
         (Psalm 51:10-12)

17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
18  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
(2 Corinthians 5:17-18)




Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 42

Wisdom Keeps Showing Up

If Woody Allen had it right when he said, “Showing up is eighty percent of life,” then Wyndham has lived a lot of life.

Showing up consistently is particularly important. Jesus showed up consistently. In fact, he promises to always be with those who follow him. (Matthew 28:20). The early disciples, day after day, went into the temple courts and house to house, teaching and proclaiming the good news of Jesus. (Acts 5:42) They showed up consistently, day after day.

It’s one thing to show up, but showing up consistently requires a lot of love, determination, and self-discipline. I could always count on Wyndham to “show up,” and this has made a great difference in his personal life, our marriage, our family, and our ministry.  He has lived and taught the importance of this quality with his oft-practiced and oft-used phrase—“set and kept times.”

It’s easy in today’s busy and distracted lifestyles to live life “flying by the seat of our pants,” rather than living intentionally. Set and kept times have been an important part of Wyndham’s life.

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways. (Proverbs 14:8)

Most importantly, he set and kept times to walk and talk with God. These weren’t (aren’t) to fulfill a duty, but were (are) to fill his soul. He counted on those times, as did I. There is nothing more security-producing in my marriage than knowing my spouse is spending time with his God.

Thankfully and amazingly, God always shows up, and is always waiting on us to show up—eager to spend time with us.

Next, he set and kept times for the two of us. To pray together. To discuss how “we” were doing. To just enjoy togetherness. Since our ministry consisted of long days and nights, and we were always “on call,” we set aside Mondays to rest, to plan, to pray, and to enjoy nature. This wasn’t a nice idea. This was a necessity. It was carefully observed and very rarely changed. Set and kept.

He set times with each of the kids for heart to heart communication, spiritual conversations, memory making, and having fun. These were the most important “discipling” times. The kids could count on some kind of individual time with Dad each week. It wasn’t easy once their schedules grew when they hit their teens, but it was priority. Set and kept. Dinner times were set and kept. At times these had to be adjusted, but they could still be counted on.

Dear friends whom Wyndham mentored, as well as those with whom we shared “one another” times  (Romans 12:10; 15:7; 15:14) weren’t occasional happenings. These were needed and important times for each of us that were set in our schedules on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis—in order to better practice “one another” Christianity. Neither of us wondered if we would get together with a particular person or couple, because the times were guarded—set and kept.

As much as it depended on us, times were set and kept for hospitality. Wyndham set and kept Monday nights for dinner in our home in order to share our lives (and the gospel) with neighbors, friends, acquaintances, and those who had left the faith. This became our custom.

Set and kept times. These resulted in connection, security, friendship, growth, progress, vulnerability, and depth. The times certainly helped us, and prayerfully helped others as well. Because wisdom kept showing up we now continue to explore rare and beautiful treasures of deep spiritual friendships and relationships. These are there for anyone who builds their house with the wisdom of God.

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. (Proverbs 24:4-5)



Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 41

Wisdom Keeps Its Head In All Situation

By Mike VanAuken

I saw Wyndham keep his head while everyone around him was losing theirs. As a result, he was able to lead the Boston Church through dramatic transformation, building on her many strengths while laying the foundation for what she has become.

 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:5)

Entering our 28th consecutive year with the privilege of serving on the Boston Church ministry staff, Scarlette and I cherish many memories and count many blessings.  While it seemed unlikely at the time, the tumultuous years of the early 2000’s are now an important part of both. Wyndham’s example, guiding the church through those years, is a lasting memory and still a blessing today.

Leading the Elders to Lead the Church

As of mid to late 2003 we evangelists had lost the confidence of much of the congregation and it was clear that our model of evangelist-centered leadership needed to change. Following several weeks of Bible study, prayer, and emails, a group of about 50 elders, evangelists, and leading brothers gathered to decide how to move forward.  Ultimately, we decided the obvious, that the elders would lead the church, rather than the evangelists. Wyndham and Gordon were the only elders on staff, with 3 or 4 non-staff brothers also serving in that capacity. Wyndham quickly took the point position and became the one stepping up to help people through their emotions and concerns. The church now saw the shepherds at the fore, we evangelists had space to develop a fresh approach to leadership, and both elders and evangelists learned to work well together.

Modeling a Leadership Team

In partnership with John McGuirk, Wyndham established a leadership team for the Boston Church. Gone were the days of “one man leadership.” The group’s roster shifted from time to time, but included elders, both younger and older evangelists, and administrators. Debate was the norm and, while Wyndham clearly chaired the group, he never imposed his will on it.

Keeping Jesus’ Vision Alive

Jesus has great dreams for his church and its impact. During those years, Wyndham never let go of the conviction that the Boston Church is a great beacon to the world and that her best days were ahead. Among other things he insisted that the evangelists once again step up to provide inspiration and faith, ensured that Boston remain a strong ligament within the ICOC fellowship, helped champion student interns at a time when we had none, and was the catalyst for the first Northeast Christians Conference.

Seeing Us Live the Lessons He Taught

I am blessed that the church in which my kids grew up has been so shaped by Wyndham’s example and convictions.  There are now 14 elders instead of 5 or 6, the church has grown 9 of the last 10 years, and every region has at least one elder as well as a leadership team made up primarily of non-staff disciples. I’m grateful that Wyndham’s wisdom helped guide us through some tricky years and continues to influence us today.


I could fill a daily blog for years with wisdom I have learned from Wyndham. However, I’ll stick with one day a week. Each Wednesday I will share wisdom gleaned, not just from me, but from our family who saw him day and night and from friends near and far whose lives he has touched.

Many of you have already told me you wish to share wisdom you learned from Wyndham. If you wish to contribute to this collection please email me at with the subject line—Wednesday Wisdom. If you wish to receive these blogs in your inbox, feel free to sign up to follow the blog.


Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 40

Wisdom Passes the Torch

Cash McHargue

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2)

This scripture is very familiar to anyone who has served in the full-time ministry.  It is often quoted as part of our job description for ministry staff.  As the Apostle Paul approached the end of his time in ministry he emphasized the need for new men to be prepared to take the gospel to the next generation. The need for leaders to raise up more and more leaders is an obvious theme throughout the scriptures and is clearly a growing need in our own fellowship. While I have known many who feel passionately about this, I have met no one who exemplifies this more than Wyndham Shaw. His devotion to training future elders and evangelists is unmatched.  I experienced this first hand during my time with him in the Northwest Region of the Boston Church.

Maria and I, along with our two small children, Isabella and Hunter, arrived in Boston on July of 2013 in preparation for our move to Madrid the following year. During that time, we led the Northwest Region, which was made up of 220 disciples (most of whom were very mature Christians who Maria and I look up to).  Since most of our ministry experience was working with younger disciples in the teen, campus, and young professional ministries we felt some doubts and insecurities about leading disciples who were much older than we are.

I remember expressing to Wyndham and to others on the leadership team that since we would only be in the region for a year or so, we’d continue to follow along with the plans which were already in place, without adding our own leadership. Fortunately for me, and the region, Wyndham saw right through my doubts and insecurities. He helped me see that God had a plan much bigger than my own. This allowed me to acknowledge and address my fear, pride, and self-focus—so that God could work through us during our time in the NW Region. Wyndham encouraged and supported our ideas for change, and he did so while instructing us with great wisdom and faith.

I remember one particular conversation early on when Wyndham told me, “You are the evangelist of this region. You need to lead.”  I knew on paper I was the “region leader,” but in reality I thought, “No, no, no, you have been here for a long time and you have all the experience. You just tell me what to do, and I will do it.” But Wyndham insisted that I take the torch. This is remarkable to me—as I think about the ways he followed my lead and supported my ideas.  I wondered, “Why would he trust me? I’m the young guy. You lead and I follow.” But this is simply not the way Wyndham saw it.

Wyndham sees the need for younger leaders to step up and take the torch. As a mature elder and evangelist in the church, his ego never got in the way of helping me take on a larger leadership responsibility. This made me feel both humbled and empowered to take on the mantle of leadership that is so badly needed in the church.  I appreciate Wyndham’s wisdom and influence in my life as well as his humility to allow me to lead. He knew I would make mistakes along the way, which I made more than I care to admit. But he also knew with proper guidance and encouragement I would learn through those mistakes and grow.

Although we stay in touch, it’s been four years since Wyndham and I worked together in the Northwest region. Along with helping to develop me in my leadership and faith, Wyndham also became a dear friend. I treasure the memories of our many fishing trips and weekly discipling times together. But the influence he made on me, especially as a husband, a father, and a leader have had the greatest impact.

I am not alone in feeling this way. Wyndham has made the same impact on so many disciples.  His firm belief in the need to develop healthy leadership in the church is the reason why there are so many great elders and evangelists throughout the New England and European churches.  His influence is widespread! I pray that those of us who are younger will humbly step up and take on new leadership roles throughout the Kingdom. I also pray that more and more will gain the same conviction to pass on the torch to those who are younger and instill faith in them to lead the church into the next generation. I’m extremely grateful for Wyndham Shaw, his faith in God, and his wisdom to pass the torch while keeping his burning. 

Wednesday Wisdom With Wisdom – 39

Wisdom Keeps on Giving

By Carolyn Harrell

Sometimes when you want to share so much, most of the sharing goes on while lying awake in the middle of the night and is only remembered in pieces when morning comes, and is only heard by God, Jesus, and Spirit.  That’s what has been going on about Wyndham’s Wisdom for many months with me.  This is to share  some bits and pieces that I’m thinking about this morning…written randomly.

If Wyndham knows about it, it can be worked on, prayed about, fixed.  That has been for over a quarter of a century what Bob and I always felt concerning church matters. I have seen Wyndham and Jeanie’s influence for healing and calming and leading bear this out and am so grateful.

Wyndham is a Biblical illustration of the good men do will live after them.  This is encouraging not only for the churches, but also for now retired formerly very active people like me. I want my words and actions to matter positively. Wyndham’s do. I hope my work with students also lives on. Memories are motivators.

Jeanie and Wyndham always go together as a name…an entity. As Jeanie’s sister I would think I’d have her in a special compartment, and I have known her longer and better, of course, but Wyndham is such a part of her there’s no other way to think or imagine.  I know the creativity and determination, the humor and emotion…and wisdom of Jeanie’s life and writing, but I can only imagine how much Wyndham’s wisdom has infused her life and writing through the years. Actually, I don’t have to only imagine since Jeanie speaks to it often.

Perhaps it’s just me, but sometimes inspirational and Christian writing can become or seem repetitious or stale and perhaps not deep or real (even though it may be to the writers and readers).  That’s never the case for me with Jeanie and Wyndham’s work, and I have a feeling that’s not only because I’m her sister.  Even though I may not be reading about some events, stories, or memories for the first time, I always feel (and act) more determined, prayerful, hopeful in a fresh way when I read what Jeanie shares or edits into a book.  That’s amazing to me.  I read widely all kinds of genres and have many spiritual favorites from outside “our fellowship” who shake and challenge my thinking in fresh ways. Jeanie’s books and blogs and Wyndham’s Wisdom do the same thing even though at the core they are more familiar to me. That must say something about writers’ voice, but also about the truth, need, spirit… imbedded in their work.  I don’t know quite how to explain it; it’s just what it is.  Some books work; some lives work.

Jeanie and Wyndham’s family inspires and delights me making me want to be so much better as a wife, mother, gammy. I love the strength of their family…not showiness (although they are all amazing)…just decades of what it is…how it’s stored and spread as images and reminders of goodness in the back of my mind.

One of my earlier memories is our family…mom and dad, some sisters and husbands, a few (of the now many) children on vacation walking on the beach and Wyndham breaking out in song…”I’m a hard fighting soldier on the battlefield…Lord, I’m a hard fighting soldier…oh yeah…”  He just couldn’t help it…and we sang along.  I love you all so much.


I could fill a daily blog for years with wisdom I have learned from Wyndham. However, I’ll stick with one day a week. Each Wednesday I will share wisdom gleaned, not just from me, but from our family who saw him day and night and from friends near and far whose lives he has touched.

Many of you have already told me you wish to share wisdom you learned from Wyndham. If you wish to contribute to this collection please email me at with the subject line—Wednesday Wisdom. If you wish to receive these blogs in your inbox, feel free to sign up to follow the blog.


Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 38

Wisdom Builds Family

It’s one thing to have people in your life who you love deeply. It’s another to be a catalyst to help those  you love to love each other. That’s what building family is all about. It’s Jesus’ great desire expressed in John 17. Love and unity, based on and flowing from God’s love and unity is what powerfully shows the world the power of God.

20  “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
21  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:
23  I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
(John 17:20-23)

Jesus expressed a similar thought earlier in John 13:34-35, 34  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
35  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

 I have often admired Wyndham’s determination and ability to build family—both in our immediate family as well as with work colleagues, friends, small groups, and churches. I also realize this didn’t happen by accident. It was nurtured. Purposely. He is convinced that joy is multiplied when those we love, love each other. That’s also how unity is built.

Our family loves spending time together. I mean, we really love it. We are best friends with each other, including the in-laws. The cousins (our grandkids) are best friends.  Beyond the family, I am also grateful for our friendships and the partnerships we share communally.

So how does “building family” happen?  Are the relationships just meant to be—and exceptionally compatible?  Does it happen randomly or accidentally? I don’t think so. 

As I think through the qualities and characteristics that have helped to build family, several values important to Wyndham stand out to me:

  • Making special times to be together– Whether the two of us, the immediate family, a work staff, or some other group, Wyndham set (and kept) times to be together—and asked for others to give that time as well. For the family, it was daily at the dinner table, weekly in family devotionals, and yearly on a vacation—getting away together. For others, it was various kinds of gatherings. And in those times memories were built…
  • Building memories – Having fun together, laughing together, sharing in each other’s special events, reminiscing, and crying together are all part of building family. Deliberate effort was made to pull each other in to these times. (No one left behind.) I’m so grateful for the memories and the pictures (and those who remembered to take pictures). Memories live on. Even though Wyndham can no longer “do” much. He can however—remember, pray, laugh, and cry with “the one others” in his life.
  • Expressing love and affection – Affection is not my first love language…mine is all about acts of service, However it’s one of Wyndham’s love languages, and I have learned from him just how important this is to help people feel loved. Wyndham is a big giver of hugs, and taught our kids to be affectionate. Thus, whenever anyone comes or goes- down to the youngest grandkids, there is a lot of giving and receiving of hugs. Affection actually does make a difference—There is even data for the way it improves our quality of life. Also, for years we have celebrated every birthday by sharing something we love about the birthday person. This never gets old.
  • Shared purpose and love for our heavenly Father – Praying together as a group, serving the poor together, sharing our faith together (and at times borrowing each others’ faith)…all of these help build comradery—family. Even if our physical families are not close, we can certainly build and find our place as we give to each other in our spiritual family.
  • Expressing qualms and hurts—and resolving such quickly. Every family will have misunderstandings, hurts, and even “bumps” (which is a kind and light word for fights.) No family or group is without sin and “stupidity.” Wyndham never let these things sit. Unresolved feelings would be resolved. Grace and forgiveness are crucial in any building of family. If someone was feeling something, he would dig until they could express what was inside. Pretty soon, this was normal practice with each other. It became customary.

Wisdom helps those we love to love each other. Let’s be wise as we lovingly interact to “build family.”


I could fill a daily blog for years with wisdom I have learned from Wyndham. However, I’ll stick with one day a week. Each Wednesday I will share wisdom gleaned, not just from me, but from our family who saw him day and night and from friends near and far whose lives he has touched.

Many of you have already told me you wish to share wisdom you learned from Wyndham. If you wish to contribute to this collection please email me at with the subject line—Wednesday Wisdom. If you wish to receive these blogs in your inbox, feel free to sign up to follow the blog.





Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 37

Wisdom Knows You Never Outgrow Leading by Example

When Wyndham and I were dating I was very “artsy and craftsy.” Decoupage was a popular craft, and one day I presented Wyndham with a homemade decoupaged plaque that read, The world has yet to see what God will do with and though and for and by the man who is fully and totally consecrated to him. I will strive my utmost to be that man.

It was nothing beautiful to look at, but Wyndham was thrilled with it because of the message. He has referred to that plaque many times throughout his life—as has lived that message and striven to be that man. 

He strove for this, not because he wanted to be a leader, but because he desired to please God. He delighted in God. He longed to fulfill God’s purpose for his life—fully confident that God had a true purpose for his life. He strove to continue to grow and to dedicate his life to this higher purpose (consecrate himself).

Because of this, his life has impacted countless people for God.

It would be easy, now that he is ill and can’t “do” much, to just think about himself and his difficult situation. After all, he spent most of his life serving God. Time to sit back and think about me. I’ve served a long time and am tired and ill. Let my past be enough.

However, as many days as God gives him I see Wyndham fully and wholly consecrating himself to God—praying God will still work with and through and for and by him.

When things are hard, or when we are older, or when have been a disciple of Jesus for a long time it can be easy to think we’ve served long enough and have stored up enough “good deeds” to last for a lifetime. However, wisdom knows you never quit leading by example.

Leading by example in attitude. In purpose. In kindness. In love. In contentment. In gratitude. In courage. In integrity. In concern for others.

Jesus never quit. On the cross he forgave. On the cross he thought of his mother and of his dear friend, John. On the cross he thought of you and me, and the satisfaction our changed lives would bring his anguished soul.

When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. (Isaiah 53:11 NLT)

After he was resurrected he cooked breakfast for his disciples. He walked and talked with them. He loved them. He believed in them and entrusted everything to them. His action as he ascended was to bless them.

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. (Luke 24:50-51)

Jesus never quit leading by his example—thinking of others all the way to heaven.

Wisdom knows that you never outgrow leading by example.


Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 36

Wisdom Knows “Tentative.”

Have you ever boldly espoused your opinion, only to realize that you were in fact wrong? Or, know someone who does this often?

Wyndham has a phrase for this practice—“Often wrong, but never in doubt!”

I find this happens most often in opinion and memory matters with statements such as:

I absolutely know I left this on your desk.

We turn right here. I’m sure.

I have looked there. It is not there.

You just need to let your child cry. They will definitely go to sleep.

You need to not let them cry. They won’t go to sleep.

If you take this supplement, it will cure you. It does this, and this, and this…

If you eat this, it will kill you.

 You may have heard (or said) all of the above, spoken with absolute surety.

There’s a Scripture for this practice:

A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2)

In contrast, a wise person seeks to understand, and is prudent in airing his/her opinions.

There are things to which we should hold with absolute conviction. Truths about God and his word are at the top of this list. For these, we must be bold and unapologetic—even when these truths are in opposition to the culture of our world, which they are.

However, in opinions (and even our memory which we can view as factual) Wyndham has taught me the value of speaking tentatively. We must be calm to be tentative. We must seek understanding to be tentative. We must be humble to be tentative. And we must be eager to keep peace in our relationships to be tentative. Yet, often we (I) can get “riled up,” sure of what we (I) think, and sure that our (my) memory is rock solid correct.

I think of this word, “tentative,” often in my conversations. This nugget of wisdom has served me well. Wyndham and I have striven to implement this in our conversations for years. To remind us, we decided many years ago to exercise a habit that reminds us that we are not always right. When we discover we are wrong in something we have confidently stated we say (yes, out loud) to each other, “I was wrong and you were right.” It’s been a good practice.

Let me define tentativeness by rewording the above statements.

I absolutely know I left this on your desk.

With tentativeness, this can be reworded: I may not remember this accurately, but I have remembrance of leaving this on your desk

We turn right here. I’m sure.

Tentative: I think we turn right here.

I have looked there. It is not there.

Tentative: I looked once, but didn’t find it. I can try again.

You just need to let your child cry. They will definitely go to sleep.

Tentative: I’ve found at times it has worked for me to let my baby “cry it out” to go to sleep.

You need to not let them cry. They won’t go to sleep.

Tentative: You may find this to work or not, but for me my baby got more worked up the longer he/she cried. This is what helped me…

If you take this supplement, it will cure you. It does this, and this, and this, and this….

Tentative: I’m sure you have heard many opinions, but this supplement has helped me and I’m excited about it. Let me know if you want to know more.

If you eat this, it will kill you.

Tentative: I don’t want to intrude, but I read some research that troubled me. I made this choice because of these reasons. I won’t be pushy, but I can send you some information if you would like it.

Without tentativeness, Wyndham’s wise phrase too often applies.

“Often wrong, but never in doubt.”

The Scriptures teach in James 4:6b
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Truth is, people also oppose the proud, but give grace to the humble.

May we never doubt what is true, but speak (with tentativeness) to gain understanding in other matters.



Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 35

Wisdom is a Matter of the Heart

By Irene Koha

Wisdom is a desirable quality that I always wanted to have. James tells us that God will give it without finding fault if we ask with faith (James 1:5-6).  That is an amazing promise! But what I was imagining at first was not exactly the godly definition of wisdom. It was more a quality of the mind, the ability to say the right thing at the right time. Of course that’s a great thing if you’re good at it, but the godly definition goes way beyond this, it includes my way of life, my personal example.

Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. James 3:13

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.  James 3:17

With Valdur and Irene in Munich

It’s been so encouraging to read about Wyndham’s wisdom on Wednesdays. His life exemplifies the godly wisdom described above. Valdur and I are very privileged to know Wyndham and Jeanie for many years, to be discipled, counseled and mentored by them and to work together on many projects locally and in Europe.  Wyndham, without a doubt, had the greatest influence any person has had on the both of us.

Friday mornings, every other week, were our times with Wyndham and Jeanie. We talked about marriage, parenting and ministry – often after an introduction that summarized and evaluated the latest Patriots or Red Sox game.  As we were working on marriage issues for many years, Wyndham and Jeanie got to know us very well. They knew us so well, that I was taken by surprise when Wyndham brought up the possibility of eldership for Valdur – that was many years ago.  Did he not see all the obstacles that were so big in my mind, but did not seem to cloud the vision that Wyndham had for my husband?  I’m sure now that he did see, but his faith was greater than the facts. He always believed in change, overcoming and growth. He was merciful with failures and considerate in his rebukes and encouragements. Because he is obviously a godly and thoughtful man I decided to trust his judgments versus my own. It was clear to me that God was using Wyndham in our life to help us change and become more useful in his kingdom.

So Wyndham’s wisdom in our life was characterized by a gentle approach, by great mercy and much good fruit. He believed in us despite all our weaknesses and struggles. He never appeared frustrated, angry or impatient. His advice was always impartial, careful to see both sides. He was a good listener and he spoke with discernment and authority. God used Wyndham’s wisdom and perseverance to change us and help our marriage to get to a completely new place.  For many years, fifteen or more, every other Friday morning, sharing with us his heart of wisdom, Wyndham gave us God’s perspective and vision for our lives, for which I am forever grateful.