Jesus: Follow ME!!

September 23, 2022

“…Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)

At the starting gate of their relationship with Jesus, two sets of brothers who were professional fishermen entered into a covenant with Him that came in two parts. Jesus challenged them:

“You follow Me – that’s your part. I will make youthat’s My part.

You follow Me – that’s your business. I will make you– that’s My business.”

When I was 18 years old my brother-in-law, Pastor John Dunlap, shared the Gospel with me. When I told him I couldn’t do what an authentic disciple of Jesus was required to do, he told me I didn’t have to do it by myself. Pastor John told me about this covenant Jesus established with Peter, Andrew, James and John. When I made the commitment to follow Jesus I entered into that same covenant.

Next month I will be 80 years old and I have proven that if we follow Jesus, He will make us. In other words, if we keep our part of that covenant we can trust Jesus to keep His part.

I strongly encourage you to consider entering into that covenant with Jesus. You don’t have to do all the things involved in following Him. Fact is you can’t follow Jesus in your own strength and resources. Your part is to make the commitment to follow Him and then trust Jesus to do His part. He won’t do your part and you can’t do His part. But if you follow Jesus, He will make you into who He is calling you to be.

And if someone could show you what you will be doing in 20++ years you won’t believe it!

Dick Woodward, 21 September 2010


Perspective: Tunnel Vision + A PLAN

September 20, 2022

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)

When you break down the word perspective, it literally means “to look through.” (Per = through, specto = look.) The expression tunnel vision is a good paraphrase for perspective. People with tunnel vision see their objective clearly, oblivious to obstacles and distractions that could hinder accomplishing goals and objectives. Jesus showed us the importance of our perspective when He told us our lives can be filled with joy or darkness. Those two opposites are determined by our “eye” – how we see things.

One of the most important questions is: “How do you see things?”  According to Jesus, if the way you see things is healthy and whole, your life will be filled with joy and light. If your perspective is not healthy, your life will be filled with darkness and depression.

Solomon wrote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) A discerning spiritual leader added these words: “Where there is no plan, the vision perishes.”

As the eagle has binocular and monocular vision, we must have a vision which continuously holds in perspective the long view of what God wants to do through us. We must also have a plan that gives us a monocular vision perspective to keep our vision from perishing as we move forward.

Dick Woodward, from As Eagles: How to Be an Eagle Disciple


Caution: God at Work!

September 16, 2022

“In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the future God has planned for us. The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the children of God coming into their own.” (Romans 8:18-19)

The view from the finish line has me fixating on the Providence of God, which like a Hebrew word can easily be read backwards. It is now easy for me to see what I considered random chaos in my life was really the loving hand of God leading me by making me offers I could not refuse.

When events roll out over which you have no control, you will see how the hand of God is showing you what to do.

A friend put this new needlepoint on his wall: “Never do what somebody else can do when you could be doing what only you can do.” All our lives God has been shaping us in miraculous ways to make a unique contribution to God’s work.

As you pray about next steps, reflect on this thought: “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God before ordained that we should do for Him.” (Ephesians 2:10)

This means we are all works in progress.

Over our lives you can write: “Caution, God at work!” God wants to point to you and say, “She is my workmanship!” There is verse in Romans 8 which tells us that all nature is on tiptoe in awe of the children of God coming into their full potential.

The issue now is: what is God doing in your present circumstances to point you to what God wants to do next in your life?

Dick Woodward, (email, 2005)


#Faith: Acceptance & Grace

September 13, 2022

“Delight yourselves in the Lord. Yes, find your joy in Him at all times. Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of your Lord. Don’t worry over anything whatever, but tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer. And the peace of God which transcends human understanding will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:4-7, J.B. Phillips)

When I was ill with an operation on my colon, my pastor and mentor, Dr. John Dunlap, came to visit me. I had an infection and was in the hospital 21 days. I said to him, “John, if you’re here to tell me I have a malignancy, I can’t handle that today.”

He laughed and said, “You’re not dying. And so you don’t need dying grace. If you needed dying grace, God would give you dying grace.”

A year later my dear pastor John had a malignancy. He said to me right away (I was there the day he found out), “Pray for me.” He was a big guy, but a big baby when it came to toothaches or anything like that. He had one of the worst malignancies the oncologist had ever seen, but all of us, we never saw such an example of dying grace as God gave our dear pastor.

God will give you dying grace when you need it. And dying grace, really, is a supernatural anointing of the Lord that makes it possible for us to accept it. That’s what it is, really. Acceptance. That’s what Paul means by gentleness.

It’s like saying in another way, “Be patient.”  Patience, when you think vertically, is faith waiting. There are many times in our walk with God where God gives us patience, which is faith waiting. God’s got to get you out before God can bring you in.  You’ve got to keep on going, so you can get through. You’ve got to get right, so you can settle down.

“Never forget the nearness of the Lord.”

Dick Woodward, (Ben Lippen Retreat, 1979)


#FAITH & Stormy Weather!

September 9, 2022

“And a great windstorm arose…but He said to them, ‘How is it that you have no faith?’…and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:35-40)

If you read the story referenced above (in Mark 4) you will see that Jesus directed His disciples to get in their boat and cross over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. On this sea crossing a great storm fell upon them.

The disciples woke Jesus with the question, “Don’t you even care that we (including Him) are all going to drown?” After turning the great storm into a great calm Jesus asked them a piercing question, “How is it that you have no faith?”

Jesus had taught them that He was the King of the Kingdom of God and they were subjects in that Kingdom. Did they really think all of this was going to come to an end at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee?

One translation renders His great question “Do you not even yet believe in me?” Another puts it: “When are you going to get some faith?”

Before we are too hard on the apostles, let’s apply the essential truth of this story to ourselves. Jesus has promised He will take us to the other side of this life to the next dimension called heaven. While we are on that journey if a great storm falls upon us, do we believe that storm declares His promises null and void?

Or do we have the quality of faith that can turn a great storm into a great calm?

Dick Woodward, 07 September 2011


#FAITH: Temple Maintenance

September 6, 2022

“But he went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die.” (I Kings 19:12)

Elijah was one of the greatest prophets who ever lived. The drastic changes we see in him between I Kings chapters 18 and 19 are due to many things, but one factor is that Elijah neglected what I call Temple Maintenance.

Before my quadriplegia when I went jogging, I told my children if anyone called to tell them their father was out doing temple maintenance. For a pastor that sounded like something official around the church.

The Apostle Paul tells us that our bodies are the temple of God. (I Corinthians 3:16-17) Therefore, anything we do to maintain our bodies can be described as temple maintenance. If we neglect our temple maintenance, it can have serious consequences for our health and ministry.

Observe in that dramatic victory Elijah won on Mount Carmel all the physical stress and effort he put out. He dug a deep ditch around that altar and filled it with water. Have you ever dug a deep ditch? At the end of that long day, he also ran in front of a chariot for 17 miles.

Our hero must have been completely exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

The physical dimension of our lives directly affects our mental, emotional and spiritual perspectives. The word neurotic has been defined as ‘thoughts and feelings for which there is no basis in fact.’ Elijah obviously allowed his physical stresses to affect him mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We know all his blubbering about being the only true servant of the Lord was neurotic when God made him know there were 7,000 faithful servants like him, who had not bowed their knees to Baal.

Dick Woodward, Marketplace Disciples


Giving Thanks!

September 2, 2022

“In everything … with thanksgiving tell God every detail of your needs … And the peace of God which transcends human understanding will stand guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)

As I have tried to apply what Paul prescribes in the verses quoted above, I have found this prescription for peace to be one of the most helpful spiritual disciplines. According to Paul, an attitude of gratitude leads to the therapy of thanksgiving as we apply thanksgiving to our stressful circumstances.

Be sure to make the observation that Paul does not prescribe giving thanks for all things. He instructs us to give thanks in all things. When we do this it automatically moves our mindset from the negative to the positive. The apostle promises that the peace of God will protect and stand guard (like the soldiers chained to Paul as he writes these words) over our hearts and minds as they rest and trust in Christ Jesus.

Our circumstances are not always determined by God but may be caused by evil people who are persecuting us. We cannot always control our circumstances – but we can control the way we respond to them. Paul is telling us to respond with thanksgiving, because if we do, we will find this response to be God’s prescription that will bring the peace that can contribute to victory over our circumstances.

When a pastor asked one of his church members how they were doing, their response was “Pretty good pastor, under the circumstances.” The pastor responded “Whatever are you doing there?”

The therapy of thanksgiving can lead us out from under our circumstances and into the peace of God. Have you tried it?

Dick Woodward, 02 September 2009


#FAITH: Soaring Like Eagles

August 30, 2022

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles…” (Isaiah 40:31)

The Golden Eagle in the Mediterranean referenced in the Bible likes to build its nest at least ten thousand feet above sea level, preferably in a Craig near the top of a cliff. From that elevation the eagle can see a storm approaching while the storm is still far off. 

With great patience the eagle waits until the winds of that storm reach a high velocity and engulf the eagle and its nest. The eagle then leaps fifteen feet from its nest directly into the adverse wind of that storm. This adverse wind gives the eagle the lift and aerodynamics it needs to soar over the storm.

When the prophet Isaiah exhorts the people of God to mount up with wings as eagles do, he is referring to this storm strategy of the eagle. When a storm comes into our lives, our reflex response should not always be to ask God to deliver us from the storm. We should consider applying this exhortation of Isaiah. We can wait on the Lord until God shows us it is the right time. Then we can leap into the adverse winds and find in them the spiritual aerodynamics to soar over the storm.

When the Church was born at Pentecost the great miracle happened after the apostles had waited on the Lord for forty days. The apostles found miraculous spiritual aerodynamics by moving out against severe persecution, obeying the Great Commission, and making disciples for Jesus Christ.

When God permits or directs a storm into your life and mine, are we willing to wait on the Lord until God gives us the power to soar over the storm?

Dick Woodward, 29 August 2011


Yours is The Glory!

August 26, 2022

“Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…”  (Matthew 6:9-13)

As we face the challenges of life every day, we should be poor in spirit enough to confess that we need the power of God.

When I have entered a challenging day, I have confessed thousands of times in my journey of faith and ministry, “I can’t, but God can.” Jesus prescribes the mandate (in the Disciples’ Prayer) we are to confess to God that the results of our answered prayers are in place because the power of God has worked in answer to our prayers.

We are to conclude our prayers by essentially confessing, “Yours is the glory.”

When we apply this third providential benediction to our prayers, we are simply confessing, “Because I didn’t but God did, all the glory goes to God.” 

Along with our confessions about the kingdom and power of God, Jesus prescribes that we conclude our prayers by making this solemn commitment to God: the glory for everything that happens in my life because You have answered my prayers will always go to You.

The essence of this benediction is: “Because the power will always come from You, the result will always belong to You, and the glory will always go to You.”

“Amen” simply means, “So be it!”

Dick Woodward, A Prescription for Prayer


#FAITH: Adjusting Attitudes!

August 23, 2022

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.”  (Matthew 6:22)

The way we see things can be the difference between a life filled with light and happiness, and a life filled with darkness, unhappiness and depression. Jesus and the entire Word of God consistently challenge our mindsets and show us how we should see things.

Have you as a believer ever found yourself in a funk and realized that you need to have an attitude adjustment? I certainly have. I have learned there are times when an attitude adjustment can pull me out of what I label a “pit fit.”  Sometimes we need to make attitude adjustments to get out of our pit fits.

There are other times when the best defense is a good offense. That is especially true when it comes to attitudes. Instead of erecting a strong defense of attitude adjustments, the better part of wisdom is to put in place a strong offense of God ordained positive attitudes that will lift us above the devastating effects of “stinkin thinkin.”

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught us that if we want to be part of His solution, the salt of the earth and the light of the world, we must begin by having eight attitude adjustments. In your Bible turn to Chapter Five of the Gospel of Matthew and study closely what we call the eight blessed attitudes – the beatitudes of Jesus.

When you understand and apply them they will make your life the light of the world!

Dick Woodward, 25 August 2011