Merry Christmas to ALL PEOPLE!!

December 23, 2016

“I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”  (Luke 2:10)

When the angels appeared to those frightened shepherds, they gave a wonderful Christmas greeting when they announced that they were bringing good tidings of great joy to all people.

These good tidings were not just for Jewish people, or for good people. They were to bring great joy to ALL people! That means all kinds of people – and all kinds of people everywhere!

Before Jesus ascended, his last words were: “…go be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NLT).

Some people hoard their faith as if the last words of Jesus were: “Now don’t let it get around!”  They live out their faith as if the Gospel is a secret to be kept.

Never forget these two beautiful Christmas words: “All people!”

The spiritual community of those who follow Jesus is not to be a secret organization. It is a community of people who exist for the benefit of non-members.

Jesus Christ came to bring good news and great joy to people who are not good. The Bible tells us that all of us have gone astray and turned every one of us to his or her own way.  That’s the bad news.  But the good news is that God laid the penalty for all of our sins on His Son. (Isaiah 53:6)

Two more great Christmas words are mercy and grace. The mercy of God withholds from us what we deserve and His grace lavishes on us all kinds of marvelous things we do not deserve. God’s mercy and grace give us more blessings than we can count if we have the faith to receive them.

Merry Christmas to ALL!!

Dick Woodward, 23 December 2011


What’s the “Good” in Good Friday?

April 3, 2015

“All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

If you want to know what is good about Good Friday this verse in Isaiah 53 will tell you.  This verse describes with great clarity the meaning of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross when it begins and ends with the same word: “all.”  The verse begins with what we might call “the bad news.”  Isaiah tells us that all of us are like little sheep and have gone astray.  We have turned, every single one of us, to our own way.  If you want to know the meaning of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, agree that you yourself are included in that first all.

The all with which this verse concludes is what we might call “the good news.” Isaiah ends this verse by telling us that the penalty for all the things we have done after turning to our own way has been laid on Him (meaning Jesus).  I don’t know about you, but for me that is very, very good news!  If you and I will confess that we are included in the first and the last all in this great Gospel verse then we know what we need to know and we have done all we need to do to turn our bad news into good news.  And we know what is good about Good Friday.

If you want to make this Friday of Holy Week a Good Friday, believe what Isaiah has written.

Dick Woodward, 02 April 2010


Beautiful Christmas Words

December 23, 2014

“I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”  (Luke 2:10)

 When the angels appeared to those frightened shepherds, they gave them a wonderful Christmas greeting.  They announced that they were bringing good tidings of great joy to all people.

These good tidings were not just for Jewish people or for good people.  They were to bring great joy to ALL people!  That means all kinds of people – and all kinds of people everywhere!

Before He ascended, the last words of Jesus were: “… go be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere… to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NLT).

Some enjoy their faith as if the last words of Jesus were: “Now don’t let it get around!”  They live out their faith as if the Gospel is a secret to be kept.

Never forget these two beautiful Christmas words, “All people!”

The spiritual community of those who believe and follow Jesus is not to be a secret organization.  It is a community of people who exist for the benefit of their non-members.

Jesus Christ came to bring good news and great joy to people who are not good.  The Bible tells us that all of us have gone astray and turned every one of us to his or her own way.  That’s the bad news.  But the good news is that God laid the penalty for all of our sins on His Son (Isaiah 53:6).

Two more great Christmas words are “mercy” and “grace.” The mercy of God withholds from us what we deserve and His grace lavishes on us all kinds of marvelous things we do not deserve.  His mercy and grace give us more blessings than we can count if we have the faith to receive them.

Dick Woodward, 23 December 2011


The Best Deal Ever Offered

March 26, 2013

“God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.”   (2 Corinthians 5:21, the Message)

So what is the biggest weekend in the Church year all about?  What does it mean to you and me personally?  The Apostle Paul put it in a nutshell. What it amounts to is the best deal ever offered.

Because of what happened on Good Friday God has offered to put all of our wrong on Jesus and in exchange put all that is right with Jesus on you and me.  That’s the best offer we ever had.  All we have to do to close on the offer is believe it!

In 1949 while I was doing social work in Pittsburgh, late one night a man asked if he could speak with me.  As we talked in the darkness outside a closed recreation center he told me he was wounded in the great Battle of the Bulge toward the end of World War II.  While still under fire he saw a chaplain crawling from one wounded man to another.  This chaplain apparently had something very important he said to those men.  He hoped the chaplain would make it to him but after taking several hits the chaplain didn’t move anymore.

He said he had been wondering for several years what it was the chaplain had to say to those men.  He said after watching me for a couple of month he told his wife he believed I could tell him what that chaplain was telling those wounded men.  I told him about the greatest deal ever offered.

This Easter do you have a message for dying people?  Do you have a message for people who are going to live?


Christmas Negligence

December 6, 2011

“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

 After the Angel Gabriel visited the priest Zechariah he went to the village of Nazareth to a peasant girl named Mary.  When he told her she was going to be the mother of God she responded in three ways.  The Scripture states very clearly that she believed and praised God (Luke 1:45-55).  As we might well imagine, we read that she was so filled with awe the first person to question the virgin birth was the virgin. She showed us that honest inquiry is not the sign of a weak faith.  And the verse above tells us that she kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

When the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles tell us about the Christmas that shall be when Jesus Christ comes back again, they tell us that His coming is the only hope of the world and the blessed hope of the church.  Hope is the conviction that something good exists in this world and we are going to experience it.  Somewhere close to thirty thousand people in America take their life every year because they no longer believe in something good.  In other words, they end their life when they lose hope.

Some believers are so awed by the miracle of the Second Coming they ask questions and experience a “paralysis of analysis” which is followed by much pondering in their hearts.  When we realize that we have a message of hope to tell people without hope about the Christmas that shall be, we simply must share that good news.  It is almost criminal negligence to have this hope and not share it with people who have no hope.