Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 11

Wisdom to Impart Confidence in God
By Kristen Shaw Gonet

Two and a half years ago my husband and I and our two children left Massachusetts where I lived five minutes away from my parents and moved to an affluent town in central Connecticut. It’s the kind of town in which, although I’m 36, I can still find myself trying to keep up with the “popular crowd.” My son just finished first grade and my daughter kindergarten and yet I have seen them already compete to be in the highest reading group in their class and struggle when they are not the best on their team at a sport or not wearing the right clothes. It’s overwhelming to try to “keep up” appearances in my community, but I can even feel that same pressure sometimes as a Christian. Am I serving enough; giving enough; have I done all my Christian duties? Being a wife, mom, Christian, and friend can start to feel like a never-ending checklist. 
Growing up, my dad never let life become a list of duties. His Christianity was never a checklist; it was and still is his identity. Although I wanted so badly just to fit in with the rest of the crowd when I was in high school, he constantly reminded me by the way he lived his life that the only ones with whom I needed to fit in were he and God. My dad’s example was so powerful that I never actually had to wrestle with this worldly desire. He made sure I knew I fit perfectly next to him. When I was next to him I was never afraid. He was a protector. Next to him I didn’t have to look a certain way because I never doubted that to him I was beautiful. To him I was strong, funny, a fighter, and smart. Now that I’m raising my own daughter I understand in a way I never could before what a profound gift he gave me.
He has a sixth sense as a dad. He always knew (and still knows now) when my sister and I caught a case of “daddy-itis”. He could sense we were “off” somehow and that we needed time with him. For the two of us, that usually meant a trip to Dunkin Donuts and then a long, often tear-filled conversation in the driveway, talking about everything we were feeling at the time. He would listen to me talk about my current crush unrequited. He would then express to me his own disappointments. He never settled for an “I’m fine” response from me when he’d ask me how I was doing. He would ask more questions or just sit and wait while we drank our hot chocolate until I was ready to talk. He would let me go on for hours about the trials of being a girl in middle school with bad acne. Nothing was off limits and I was never too embarrassed to tell him all the details. It may have been the six sisters he grew up with that gave him such a sensitive heart, but he somehow would find a way to relate to me. I always felt listened to and understood. He would ultimately bring all of it back to Jesus and the Bible. He made Jesus and the Bible so real in those moments. I cling to those talks still today. 
In the busyness of life, I can often want to settle for the “I’m fine” responses from my kids or from my neighbors but I think I inherited my dad’s emotional intelligence and I can’t help but dig deeper. I want to give my kids what my dad gave me. My daughter and I recently read Psalm 139. I want her to have the same confidence in who she is that my dad gave me and I want her to know the true source from which it came. I watched her eyes fill with confidence as she thought about the fact that God made her just as he wanted! When I look at those around me I want to see beyond the “I’m all set” exterior and remember that people just need to be asked the right questions or that sometimes they just need someone to sit and drink hot chocolate with them. This world is full of broken people who need Jesus and the Bible to be made real in their lives. My Dad is my hero and most trusted adviser. Although his voice is softer and he has less strength than he used to, his words remain just as loud in my heart and his strength is just as profound.
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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 shaw.jeanie@gmail.com 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.

I’ll look forward to meeting you here on Wednesdays. And if you would, please remember us in your prayers. It’s a privilege to have you in our lives.

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 10

Wisdom Invests in Others’ Lives

                                                             by Jack Frederick

I know Wyndham. He is a friend, mentor, fishing buddy, counselor, shepherd of my soul, minister, football player and family best friend. We spent twenty years together doing all of the above and having fun. Wyndham is maybe two years younger, but perhaps his most important role to me was being like a father to me. Wyndham has always been a man of wisdom beyond his years. When I became a Christian I began to recognize the value of wisdom and sought wisdom for my life, though I considered myself ten years behind the wisdom curve for my age.

I made every opportunity to spend time with Wyndham and Jeanie, seeking to soak up wisdom just being around him. Our families (parents and kids), loved one another from the start and we spent lots of family times doing fun things. Wyndham and Jeanie were our discipleship partners in life and ministry for many years (“discipleship partner” is Greek for ‘good friend,’ or at least it should be). If you’re in a discipling relationship and you don’t build a good friendship then you need to reevaluate and likely repent, because you’re not helping one another as you should. Partner is also an operative word, as discipling partners is a two-way relationship; we share honestly about our lives and we apply scriptures and friendship to disciple one another to become more like Jesus. Wyndham and Jeanie were the best at that. They opened their lives to us and asked us for help just like we were peers, though we knew they had more experience and training. But that was never a barrier to them seeking our insights and help. 

Wyndham’s midweek house church lesson in the fall of 1987 convinced us to move to Boston. Before then we had never met, but it was obvious from that one lesson he was a man of deep conviction, passion, integrity and wisdom. Beyond this it was a blessing/good fortune that they came to live near us a year after we moved to Boston. I trusted Wyndham–probably the first man I learned to trust enough to open my heart and life. He was wise, a man skilled in leading, and yet he took the time to know me. I had friends I loved to whom I owe much, but I had never had a man with such ability and qualities take the time to teach & mentor me, and to be a best friend to me. He wasn’t older than me, but he was far wiser. He was like the father I didn’t have–a father of great wisdom, and a father with a heart and determination to impart to me his wisdom. I feel like an unlikely recipient of a wonderful gift, a man of great ability & wisdom willing to invest himself to help me grow to become the man God wanted me to be. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one he so invested himself into, but I feel fortunate in a special way—in that our families drew us even closer together.

Boston elders a decade or so ago

It has been my experience in both business and spiritual life that no education or training compares with a friend who genuinely invests in helping you grow. I enjoyed friendships with business and university leaders who guided me and shared wisdom, many spiritual advisers, but no one who invested so much or did so much to help me grow as did Wyndham. I wasn’t the Shaws best student, but I may have been their most eager student. Wyndham was like the father I didn’t have growing up. He treated me with respect and helped me know how to be the man God wanted me to become. I worked hard to grow and honor his investment in me and my family. I owe him so much.

We are older now. We moved away from Boston several years ago but the stamp of Wyndham’s influence is etched into my heart. I quote him, I remember him, I speak of him everywhere I go, and his influence shapes how I help others and how I love my family. Age and health problems take their toll, but these have not diminished my love and respect for this man who shaped my life. When I help others I think of what Wyndham did and what Wyndham taught me. He is a great dad in life, as is obvious in his children, and I am indebted to Wyndham that he took the time to be a father influence in my life. I love you brother, happy Father’s Day.– Jack

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 9

Wisdom to Grow Your Heart

By Lexi Miller

My name is Lexi Miller and I am 8 years old and I have the best Papa in the world! I just went on a super awesome vacation with my Papa and I felt a lot more connected than I even did before. I felt a lot more connected because we had a lot of special talks together. In my short 8 years my papa has taught me a lot of how to love people in a great big way. He has shown me how to have a lot of love for the people around me.

My Papa gives me great big hugs, he likes to watch me do cartwheels, he wants to hear how my dance recitals went. He listens when I feel sad and he wants to know about how I’m doing and what makes me happy. I’ve even heard him cry when he talks about how much he loves us. He also gives me treats and was excited to give me money to buy a souvenir on vacation.

Next week my best friend is moving to San Francisco California. This has made me sad and I’ve cried a lot because I’m going to miss her so much. I was telling my mom that I wished we had never met because now it makes her leaving so much harder because I love her so much. But I know that the sadness is worth it because our friendship is so special and my heart is bigger to love. My Papa has taught me to love with my whole heart. Sometimes when things are hard and people leave it can make me very sad but my papa has showed me that loving people in a big way is always worth it and that is very special. Papa has taught me that hugs are important and even tears sometimes. And that is why I am glad to be one of Papa’s Pumpkins as a name that he calls all of his grandchildren and I love him so much!

 

 

 

 

 

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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 shaw.jeanie@gmail.com 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.

I’ll look forward to meeting you here on Wednesdays. And if you would, please remember us in your prayers. It’s a privilege to have you in our lives.

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 8

     Wisdom to Pass on Wisdom

by Emma Miller

There’s something quite indescribable about the family I was born into. I had no control over it, no way to earn it, and never can deserve it. The very start of my family, and a huge reason that I am so grateful to have it, is because of my grandfather, whom I call “Papa.” He is a man unlike any I have ever seen, and I know that I’ve only managed to catch a glimpse of the remarkable man he is. As I get older, I’ve come to appreciate more and more the person and inspiration he is to me, and countless others.

I am the oldest of all of the grandchildren that my grandparents have, and through these past few years, especially after becoming a disciple, I’ve felt extremely grateful for the extra time I have had with them, and that I can be of an age that can see who he is and appreciate the inspiration he gives.

My grandfather blows me away with his faith. The way he handles the health challenges he goes through, the way he teaches people, the way he loves people, and I could go on. I was just on vacation with him and my family, and I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with him for a while, listening to his story, and hearing pieces of his wisdom. I had prepared a list of questions for him.

He talked to me about the way he stays hopeful, and rooted in Jesus as his foundation–no one else. He keeps his eyes on eternal life, not this earthly life…although he’s had it to the full. He makes his Christianity not just his religion, but his way of life, and trusts that God is preparing a room for him in heaven.

That conversation blew me away, because I got to see how strong he was in the Lord, and I want to imitate that. He fixes his eyes on what is unseen, and that keeps him overflowing with hope and joy amidst health challenges.

I have always thought of my papa as a spiritual, wise man from just watching him, and certainly seeing the way he’s impacted others, like my parents. I got to understand it so much more this past year. I think back to the time when I heard him speak to appoint elders in the Pioneer Valley region earlier in the year, and that day really struck me as I heard of some of the things he’s done. To hear him share his convictions and experiences in being a disciple really hit my heart, and I realized more of what a unique person he is. It made me see the strength and humility he has as I heard him speak, along with the conversation I had with him a few days ago. He is wise as he makes himself low and God highest of high…yet he is a leader,and is bold.

He told me the story of when he was 22 years old, starting off his campus ministry with only 3 disciples. When he was with the church leaders and elders that year, they asked him how many baptisms he thought could happen by faith that year. Everyone thought around 10 people would be exciting, but he said 100. It seemed crazy to them, yet because of God using his faith, that very year sure enough they went from a campus ministry of 3 to that of 100! It was incredible to be able to hear that side of him. He is a leader, and he is a leader when it comes to evangelism. He said to me something like, “I want to be a leader because I want to inspire other people that it can be done.”

His attitude inspires me as I think about going into high school next year, and eventually college. That faith is something I want to imitate. I often pray about the reasons God put me in this family, with the ability to be close to him, and to learn from him. I didn’t have anything to do with it, but I feel grateful for it. I’m so thankful to have this, and to learn “up close and personal” from his faith. I’m inexpressibly grateful to be “Papa’s Punkin” (the nickname he’s called me since I was born), and I want to follow his example.

One Decision – 50 Years Later

I remember the day well. I wore a homemade dress—gold on the bottom, black and gold plaid on the top. I felt such a sense of relief as I walked down to the river to be baptized, knowing I would walk back out with my sins forgiven. I wondered what it would “feel” like to have God’s Spirit in me. That was 50 years ago today—June 22, 1967.

I knew I was lost, separated from God. Though I was just a young teen, I had already dabbled in rebellion. My mouth was filled with cursing and I had already tried a few cigarettes….just because I wanted to. Those were just a couple of many sins.  I struggled with the desire to experience the world and to “fit in”…thinking it seemed much too restrictive to follow the “narrow road” as outlined in the Bible. How could that bring freedom? (I’d soon come to learn the great truth in this paradox.) Yet, one thing would never leave my mind.

What would I do with Jesus? I had to answer the same question Pilate asked the crowd around him years ago:

  But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.
“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered.
  “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?”
Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!”
  “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
  When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
(Matthew 27:20-24, emphasis added)

I reasoned—either he was true, and rose from the dead…or he wasn’t’ and didn’t.

Either the Bible was true, or it wasn’t.

I found that it took much more faith to believe it wasn’t true…than to have faith that it is true. 50 years later I have never been more solidly convinced of its truth.

The night before my baptism a scene ran through my mind’s eye again and again. A scene of Jesus showing ultimate love…dying for me. How could I say “no” to that love?  I had a “fear of God,”  knowing I would give account to him one day, combined with a sense of amazement of what he did for me. I had been thinking I should try to get “good enough” to become a Christian first. I finally realized that the point of the cross was that I could never be good enough. God wanted me, “Just as I am.” When I heard the words to the song by that title, I knew I could not wait any longer.

I had grown up reading the Bible most every day, though no one “formally” studied the Bible with me. I remember asking myself…”What if God wanted me to move to Africa? Would I be willing? What if someone pointed a gun at me and asked me to deny Jesus? Would I be faithful?”

Ironically, years later I was held at knife point and boldy (through the power of God’s Spirit) told the assailant he would account to God for what he planned to do to me. After about an hour, I was let go—completely unharmed. (You can read about this in “My Morning Cup.”) Three decades later we would be asked to move to South Africa, which we fully planned to do. Last minute changes and needs in the church there changed that plan, which surprisingly brought me more disappointment than relief.

Over the 50 years I’ve grown and changed beyond my imagination. I’ve messed up so many times and experienced God’s grace again and again. But, over the past 50 years I’ve never looked back. I’ve seen amazing miracles from God and many amazing acts of love (as well as disappointments and wrongdoings) from others. These have shown me the truth of the Scripture:

 What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness?
Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”
(Romans 3:3-4)

God and his word remain true no matter my circumstances or actions of others.

The “minister” that baptized me actually went to jail for some really bad stuff. Churches and leaders both inspired and disappointed throughout the years. However, nothing in all of this changes God’s Word—or his plan for the church. It’s all true and the church is still his plan. It never was about people’s responses. It is about how I respond to God and his word.

Nothing will ever change the need to answer the question, “What will I do with Jesus?” It really is all about him.

When people quit following Jesus, what others do or don’t do is never the real issue. A walk with God is always about what we will do with Jesus.

He’s true or he’s not. He rose from the dead or he didn’t.

Not only that, but the life I have seen and lived “proves in practice his good and perfect will.”

  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

June 22, 2017. Today. 50 years later.  

Today I am surrounded by my family while on vacation. Earlier, I went on a prayer walk with my oldest daughter and fourteen-year-old granddaughter who has been a disciple for a little over a year. The depth of love and relationship we share with our kids and their spouses, and that we all share with each other is such a real part of God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. As I listened to my granddaughter’s prayers, and watched the other grandchildren love each other, read the Bible together, play and pray together my heart is filled with inexpressible gratitude.

My marriage of nearly 43 years is closer and deeper than I know how to explain…all attributed to our decision to follow God’s plan. I get to experience this because of a decision made 50 years ago. Even though the past year has not been as we would have planned (my husband has developed a debilitating and truly awful neurological disease), we have great hope and courage to live each day with joy. This world is truly not our home. God has promised us eternal life.

My spiritual brothers and sisters provide relationships that bring great comfort and joy. I have been able to see, over these 50 years, God working throughout the world changing lives that inspire me beyond words. Only the power of God could bring such changed lives and unity in relationships. I’ve been able to see the poor around the world served and lonely orphans placed in families. All because of one decision, 50 years ago.

That one decision made 50 years ago has made all the difference. I could not be more grateful to God for his good, perfect and pleasing will.

I can only imagine what I might write 50 years from now—if there is “writing” in Paradise.

 No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”-
(1 Corinthians 2:7-9)

Never underestimate the power of one decision

Thank you God, for these 50 years. And thank you for the hope of eternity.

 

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 7

Treasures of wisdom, especially in leadership, are scattered throughout today’s post from Michaela Iiames. Take in the these treasures–not only as you read these lines, but as you read between the lines. 

Our friendship with the Iiames has spanned numerous miles and years. John is a doctor of environmental studies and Michaela a teacher. They recently took 6 weeks off to help serve and inspire our small sister church in Sofia, Bulgaria, because that’s the kind of hearts they have for God and his people. As you read this, please say a prayer for their current service there, and for the church in Sofia. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wisdom Keeps Adding to Learning

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.   (Proverbs 1:5)

The wise ADD to their learning. They are attentive to readjusting preconceived ideas or “conventional wisdom” in order to learn. Wyndham has never come across as having it all figured out. His understanding of God, others, and himself has been a work in progress, and I am confident, to this day, he is still learning.

When John and I were moved to their ministry in January 1991, our very first time together was driving back from an all church Bible Talk leaders’ meeting downtown. John drove. Wyndham and a weeping Jeanie rode in back. The conversation started something like this, “We’re having a disagreement and wondered if you guys could help us out. We can’t get on the same page…”

We froze. What?!  They were experienced leaders, ahead of us in life and ministry…and they were training us. Yet, this was only the beginning of the many times when Wyndham solicited our input on matters of ministry, personal relationships, marriage, etc. In the ministry regions in his charge, the non-staff men were called on for their strengths, talents, and collective wisdom to make the ministry the best it could be.

Since Wyndham was in a constant state of learning, getting input from so many others did not challenge his sense of position, and the men felt valued under his leadership. Wisdom has security based in humility…always looking to learn.

One of the most laughable moments that has endured more mileage than any other “Wyndham story” was the one that took place in their kitchen one afternoon. Jeanie was serving soup for lunch, and without really waiting for Jeanie, Wyndham continued asking for salt, pepper, bread, butter, water refill, etc., to the point that it seemed she would not ever have time to sit with us to eat. In an exaggerated way, I leaned over and peered under the table, catching his eye on my way up. Wyndham questioned the look on my face, and I replied, “I just wondered if your legs were broken.”

Truth be told, his immediate response was not entirely happy, but within a few moments, he realized his lack of consideration. John and I have been long gone from Boston, and through the years I have received calls from other disciples after a marriage retreat to laugh with me about this story. Wyndham shares it, because he learned to be a better husband. He has consistently added to his learning.

Years ago I affectionately nicknamed him “Wisdom,” and these are only several of many reasons why.


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 shaw.jeanie@gmail.com 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.

I’ll look forward to meeting you here on Wednesdays. And if you would, please remember us in your prayers. It’s a privilege to have you in our lives.

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 6

Wisdom to be an Encourager
Ahhh…encouragement. It does wonders for our confidence, our perseverance, and our overall outlook on life. Yet it’s often hard to find. Life can hit us hard, and Satan constantly accuses.
Just this morning, before I went to the chiropractor, I was feeling out of sorts  (mostly caused from being out of alignment). I asked God if he would mind giving me a bit of encouragement today. In his infinite wisdom, he always knows what is needed. I just needed to tell him how I was feeling. As I closed my prayer, I received the email below, describing Wyndham’s wisdom shown through encouragement. Not only was I encouraged, but was reminded to be a daily encourager. Thank you, Leigh Ann. We love you dearly.
      
Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have       refreshed the hearts of the saints. (Philemon 1:7)
     I have the unique privilege of carrying the same last name as Wyndham. I married into the Shaw family almost twelve years ago. Not only am I beyond blessed to have Sam as my husband, I also have the most amazing in-laws who love me and have taught me so much. 
     It is difficult to share just one thing I have learned from Wyndham, because I could share many. He is a man of great strength and dignity, yet he is humble and meek. He is a man of deep conviction and he has a wealth of knowledge, yet he is eager to learn from others.
     Wyndham is in a stage of life where he could be focused on himself and his own needs, and yet he looks for ways to encourage others. As his daughter-in-law, I am so fortunate to receive an abundance of encouragement from Wyndham.  
     I remember one day just a few months ago when I was in the throes of motherhood with a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old and a newborn. I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by a lack of sleep and the many tasks at hand. Satan was throwing his flaming arrows at me. Thoughts like “you’re an incompetent mom,” “you lack value,” “you are not good enough…” were swarming through my head that day. I was departing from a family party, and as I hugged Wyndham to say goodbye, he held me a little tighter and a little bit longer and said, “I love you. You’re a great mom and I’m grateful for the wife you are to my son.” 
     My eyes filled up with tears as I walked away (and as they are right now). He spoke words of encouragement that touched my soul. Wyndham’s words of encouragement remind me of a scripture in Hebrews 3:13, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
     While I strive everyday to remember God’s love for me and to get my security and confidence from him, Satan is a strong enemy and his flaming arrows of lies come to attack everyday. It is refreshing to have someone help deflect those arrows. Wyndham does this for me and for so many others. I want to imitate his example and encourage others daily as he does.
Leigh Ann Shaw

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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 shaw.jeanie@gmail.com 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.

I’ll look forward to meeting you here on Wednesdays. And if you would, please remember us in your prayers. It’s a privilege to have you in our lives.

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 5

Wisdom to be a Utility Player

I enjoy baseball and am unashamedly a Red Sox fan. If you’re not so inclined, stay with me here, as the Red Sox actually have nothing to do with this post. In baseball, I know the names of of many pitchers and home run hitters, but I know the names of few-to-no “utility players.” Utility players are team members who play various positions as they are needed. Most often, these players aren’t household names…but their contributions are crucial to their teams. Utility players must be flexible, capable, and not too attached to their favorite positions.

The Scriptures speak of “utility players” who were chosen as such because they were full of the Spirit and wisdom. Do you quickly recognize the names of Nicanor, Timon, Procorus, Nicolas and Parmenas? Probably not.

Stephen and Philip are more well known…but these other guys were also full of wisdom and the Spirit. Who were these people?
1  In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.
2  So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.
3  Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them
4  and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
5  This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
6  They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
7  So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:1-7)

These men were chosen because they were spiritual and wise. What was their first great and noble assignment born from their wisdom and spirituality?

Distribution of food to the Grecian widows.

Because it was needed.

Wyndham has switched roles numerous times throughout his work in the ministry. Some roles have been high profile and some have not. He has embraced each one equally, as his desire has always been to be used wherever he was most needed…as a player, a coach, or player coach. (fyi..he’s the cute one on the back row…2nd little ball player from the left.) He was not overly attached to a certain role, thought certainly some he enjoyed more than others. He did not allow himself to be distracted from his purpose when change happened.

I more often find change difficult, and am more at ease sticking with what I am most confident and comfortable doing, and what I enjoy the most. So, at times I’ve changed roles “kicking and screaming” inside, while complying outwardly. Even now, I’m needing to consider a new type of role, and Wyndham’s wisdom tumbles through my heart…because this is not what I want to do. Wisdom calls me to be a utility player. What does it call you to be?

God always brings blessings when I respond with humility. It does not always bring immediate joy–but there is always joy, peace, and victory in Godly surrender.

Thank you Wyndham for being a willing utility player, for whatever the need. True wisdom is born from this kind of humility.  As the Acts 6 utility players joyfully fulfilled their roles, God’s word spread and many became disciples. You may not remember their names, but God did, and used their willing service to build a mighty team.

Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 4

Wisdom to Dig Deeply and in the Right Places

 The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. (Proverbs 20:5)

I’m a person who often doesn’t immediately know what I’m feeling, and Wyndham has often helped draw out not only my emotions (especially if the feelings weren’t between us :-)), but also to help me understand their source. Once I understand the source of my emotions, it’s much easier to accurately adjust my perception.

The following descriptions of wisdom involve digging—the first from Kitty Chiles and the second from Gordon Ferguson.

Bud and Kitty Chiles became dear friends when we worked together for HOPE worldwide. Wyndham and I were novices in the non-profit humanitarian world, and learned so much from their vast experiences. Kitty shares the impact that Wyndham’s “digging below the surface” had on her life.

In the entry that follows, our dear friend Gordon also explains the wisdom in “excavating beneath the surface.”

From Kitty:

I am grateful for this opportunity to express my love and respect for Wyndham, a spiritual giant in my life. While our years working with him and Jeanie were too short, they made a profound impact on me. I will share one short interaction that I have carried in my heart for close to fifteen years. 

On one occasion, Bud, Wyndham, Jeanie, and I were talking about several challenging relationships.  I especially was struggling with having the courage (and love) to deal with a conflict and work through it. At one point, Wyndham looked at me and told me I was perhaps the most easily accused person he has known. I was stunned. No one had ever described me as “accused” in my then 20 years as a Christian. He went on to tell me ways this perception was playing out in my life and was crippling me spiritually; how Satan (the great accuser) was using it in my life. My personal antennae were so far extended that I was perceiving things about myself that were untrue. It was affecting my relationships across the board.

Since that day, I have been increasingly aware of this spiritual and emotional handicap. But Wyndham’s words have continually encouraged me. I have developed an awareness of Satan’s schemes in my life and how I can overcome them with God’s Word and the wisdom of Godly relationships like Wyndham. His wisdom and perception have changed my life. And I know that this Godly quality has enriched the lives of all those that he has touched with it. Thank you, brother.

From Gordon:

When we moved to Boston a couple of days before the dawn of 1988, Wyndham and Jeanie picked us up at the airport. (We were paired as discipleship partners.) They had no clue what this relationship was going to mean to their life and schedule, trust me! I was a mess when we moved. If you are interested in seeing more of these details, see Chapter 9 in my book, “Fairy Tales Do Come True.” My being a mess led to our marriage being about the same. The Shaws started on a path that took us all through repeated marriage counseling sessions.

To my knowledge, they were the first to employ what we later were to call “marriage reconstructions.” Wyndham is nothing if not thorough, and thankfully along with it, patient. He left no stone unturned as he dug into our relationship, going all of the way back to our dating relationship 25 plus years prior.

At times, I remember being somewhat incredulous at the little details Theresa recalled—details about how I had hurt her. When I got ticked off and started being prideful and saying stupid things, Wyndham would say something like this: “Bro, just be quiet and let her share what’s on her heart.” He was determined to dig out anything from the past that might be impeding the present. Let me just say that it was an arduous process—but a process that changed my life and our marriage!

My good brother’s wisdom in this situation was shown by often going against the grain of conventional wisdom. That quality showed up many times during the years that we worked together in Boston, but I saw it early on and close up during that marriage counseling process. Conventional wisdom (much more conventional than wise) was to blame husbands for all marriage problems. After all, they were the leaders, right? And if leaders, responsible for all failures! 

Wyndham flatly rejected that viewpoint, although it was definitely the prevailing viewpoint in Boston in the late 1980s. I think it would have been obvious to almost any sensible person that I was the main problem in our marriage. Thus, it would have been understandable if I was the only focus in counseling. However, while I was Wyndham’s main target, he didn’t let my little wife’s cuteness and submissiveness throw him off track. He dealt with her stuff too, very patiently and gently, but thoroughly.

Her view of authority figures had been very damaged by many in her life’s experience, me being one of that sad list. Wyndham won her heart over for life, becoming in the process the most trusted male in her life. He also became one of my most trusted, a man of wisdom who will be tightly bound in my and Theresa’s hearts forever!

Wisdom is not afraid to lovingly dig…and cares enough to do so.

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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 shaw.jeanie@gmail.com 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.

I’ll look forward to meeting you here on Wednesdays. And if you would, please remember us in your prayers. It’s a privilege to have you in our lives.

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom with Wyndham – 3

As I showed Wyndham the first couple of posts in this series, he was eager to make sure his weaknesses were shared. He was quick to point out that any wisdom God has given him was also learned through difficulties and mistakes. So, there you have another piece of wisdom from Wyndham:

Share your weaknesses. Be vulnerable. Be humble. He has more to share on this subject (for a later time), but his thoughts appropriately introduce a post from our dear friend Gordon Ferguson, who taught us much on this subject. Yesterday Gordon sent me six extremely meaningful articles–all sharing wisdom from Wyndham. I was moved to tears. Thank you, Gordon. I’ll start with this one:

THE WISDOM OF HUMILITY

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

Nothing found in human beings is more attractive than humility. James put it well in the above verse. Wisdom will always be diluted by a lack of humility and enhanced by its presence. My good friend, Wyndham, has an abundance of both qualities. I could mention many ways in which his humility has been demonstrated, but the acid test of humility is always going to be found in how one receives critiques.

I’ve used in at least one of my books the example of a talk I had with Wyndham when I was yet very new in Boston. He was my new discipler, and I was the new kid on the block, so to speak, but I felt like one of his concepts about discipling was not on target. We had quite a talk as we walked around a lake, and at some point he agreed with what I was saying. Then, the very next morning in a leaders’ meeting at his house he took my idea to another level. His example almost took my breath away as I thought about now following that example. Humility shown? Yes indeed – in abundance! 

I’ve many other similar stories that illustrate his humility, but I’ll cut to the chase and give you my favorite two. Wyndham and I share a similar emotional nature; we are both very emotionally based. When my emotions get “hooked,” I struggle with working out of it. Wyndham has a way of doing it that few are willing or able to imitate.

In leaders’ meetings involving elders, Wyndham is almost always very even tempered. He can handle a lot coming his way without letting his emotions take control. Very occasionally, he would get hooked emotionally and keep pressing a point that wasn’t quite on target. Sometimes he would work it through in the meetings. On the rare occasions that he didn’t, he would talk to me after the meeting and ask, “Bro, what just went on in there?” In very clear terms, I would tell him that his emotions got hooked and he kept pressing a point that wasn’t going to carry the day. He would then ask what my thoughts were about the discussion topic, followed by a short period of silently processing what I had said. Then he would say, “Okay, I’ve got it. Thanks.”

Now stop and think about that one for a minute. He could process something in short order that was opposite of what he just prior been arguing strongly for. I have seen a few with enough humility to do that so quickly, but very few. I’m probably not one of the few, but watching Wyndham made me determined to work hard to imitate his heart.

Just for fun here, I will also mention an elders’ meeting, with wives present, that Wyndham was leading. He was making his point on some subject, and Jeanie was the main one who spoke up in disagreement. They went back and forth for a good while, with Jeanie being very respectful in spirit but very persistent in sticking with her viewpoint. Finally, in utter exasperation, Wyndham turned to me and said, “Bro, what do I do here?” I replied (with a twinkle in my eye), “I don’t know, Wyndham, because I agree with her!” With that, the room erupted in laughter, and Wyndham handled it with great humility and a nice dose of good humor as well. As I said, one of my great memories of a great man of humility! Thank you, my Brother!

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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 shaw.jeanie@gmail.com 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.

I’ll look forward to meeting you here on Wednesdays. And if you would, please remember us in your prayers. It’s a privilege to have you in our lives.